COVID-19 Pandemic: Thailand Medical News Exclusive Review-6 Months Into The Pandemic-We Are Still Clueless-Grim Future Ahead
: The world is about 6 months (Note that on January 23, 2020, WHO chief Tedros publicly described the spread of the new coronavirus in China as “limited.”, and only on January 30, 2020,The World Health Organization finally declares it an international health emergency but not a pandemic just yet
) into the COVID-19 pandemic and to date, we have officially more than 16,010,600 million human beings infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (real estimates could be as high as 10 times that figures due to inadequate testing in many countries, or cover ups and concealments or sheer incompetency by governments of certain countries.)
Unfortunately we also have more than 644,015 reported deaths from the COVID-19 disease to date or roughly about 150 humans dying from the disease every hour globally for the last six months.
Even with these depressing figures, the seriousness of the COVID-19 disease has not sunk into the minds of millions of ignorant individuals around the world who are still refusing to wear protective mask, maintain frequent hand washing and social distancing, and for those in high vulnerable groups to practice self-isolation. People are not even focusing on their own bodies to maximize their optimal health states or even to take prophylactic measures and precautions.
We still have intellectually challenged individuals comparing it to common cold or even worst in denial that COVID-19 is real. We have tons of misinformation and fake news online from people claiming that bananas help prevent the disease, that the disease is non-existence but rather ‘made up’, to even governments and health authorities claiming that they have developed protocols to cure the disease to even claims that certain drugs will treat the disease.One at the moment is a herbal based capsule made by a cardiologist from a certain university along with support from government entities from a certain South-east Asian country famous for lots of medical lies ie like they created the vaccine for Ebola and HIV, they discovered immunotheraphy , they developed the treatment protocol for COVID-19 etc The new herbal pills are not even tested in vitro or even in animal models let alone any supporting published studies. The fake news was publshed in certain unreliable media.
Yes the pandemic is causing economic distress all over but instead of taking harsh measures once and for all to stop the spread of the disease, frequent “half-baked’ policies and moving forward and backwards often on issues like lockdowns etc is only going to exacerbate the situation and make economic hardships even worse in the long term. Such scenes have been seen in countries like America, India, South America and many European countries.
The COVID-19 pandemic can be described as one of the worst ever managed health crisis in the world originating with China’s cover up in the beginning of the crisis in Wuhan where the virus initially was discovered, to the incompetence of the WHO, the unpreparedness of the US CDC and NIH and finally the interference by an ignorant and psychologically deranged individual with massive power: US President Donald Trump. He has even gone one step further by politicalizing the whole COVID-19 crisis and even the issue of wearing protective masks.
To date more than 13,782 scientific studies have been published with regards to the COVID-19 disease and the SAR-CoV-2 (almost 84 percent are preprints that have yet to been peer-reviewed).
There are more than 2472 clinical trials either planned or in progress with regards to COVID-19 disease in terms of repurposed drugs, new pharmaceuticals, supplements, herbal and traditional medicine, antibodies, vaccines, medical devices etc. There are about 126 completed clinical trials to date.
There are more than 372 existing drugs being studied for repurposing to treat various aspects of the COVID-19 disease along with 17 new pharmaceutical preparations, 64 phytochemicals from plants and herbs and 38 proteomes.
There are more than 148 vaccine candidates in development stages (we omitted out some in which the researchers have no clues especially from a certain South-east Asian country with a reputation for “hot air” like in the beginning of the pandemic, when the announced that they were the first to develop a protocol to treat COVID-19 with drugs that studies have now shown to have no efficacy at all to treat COVID-19!)
There are currently at least more than 127,000 scientific researchers from around the world from various specialties and fields working on various aspects to find solutions for the COVID-19 disease.
With all these impressive figures and scenarios, where are we today with regards to stopping the pandemic? The answer is nowhere.
Let start with drugs. We do not have any drugs that can effectively treat the disease or its associated symptoms.
Even more worrisome and frightening is that we have the United States that lets a ‘nutcase’ like Donald Trump not only influence medical issues in America but even globally. He initially advocated the usage of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 and with his influence made the US FDA grant emergency approval to allow the use of these lethal drugs on Americans sick with the disease until numerous studies confirmed its lethal effects and non-efficacy. Many countries also followed in the US footsteps initially. It is rumored that at least more than 2,018 COVID-19 deaths in the US alone could be attributed due to the usage of these two drugs ie Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine but yet no major investigation or legal class lawsuits have been filed against the US FDA and The Trump administration or even against Trump himself. Even with medical indemnities, and political immunities, there are ways around to get the officials and Trump legally responsible for these deaths. Much more have died in countries like Iran , Brazil and Pakistan as a result of using these drugs.
Then we have the Trump administration again endorsing another drug-remdesivir that has no proper safety studies or efficacy studies except that it reduces hospital stays in a half-baked studies. The trend was followed by other stupid governments in Europe and even Asia. The Trump administration has even bought half a million doses at inflated prices for use on Americans (they should actually only give it to Trump supporters and Republicans and save the rest of the Americans!)
The Chinese government also hoodwinked many other countries with it fake studies in the beginning of the crisis with claims that drugs like lopinavir/ritonavir, favipiravir and interferon alpha being able to treat COVID-19. (Studies have now shown that none one them have any efficacy against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and in some cases can actually worsen certain conditions.)
With regards to dexamethasone to help rein in certain aspects of the cytokine storm, there are now emerging studies that it can only be given to patients in severe conditions and even then there are new complications already arising as steroids suppress certain immune functions and lets the virus to even work aggressively in other ways. (Please note that new studies in the last 48 hours are showing that besides cytokine storms arising as a result of the immune responses, the novel coronavirus is actually destroying and altering some of the immune cells and proteins, giving another dimension that complicates the way the issue of cytokine storms have to be treated.)
To make worse, many pharma giants along with corrupted governments (Including the U.S.) are trying to profit from the crisis and are also buying the services of medical journals, medical researchers and media to support their plans.
We have many suitable drug repurposing candidates such as ivermectin, niclosamide, colchicine, famotidine etc and also supplements like melatonin, Vitamin D, hesperidin, rutin, catalase, etc whose studies are being suppressed by the pharma giants as these are drugs whose patents have lapsed or cannot be patented is not deemed as profitable for them.
But more importantly from Thailand Medical News perspective, based on studies that show that the COVID-19 disease progression upon being infected by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is affected by so many multiple factors including the genetic profile of the infected individual, the presence of any chronic health conditions or past pathogenic infections, the type of infecting strains and the full biochemical profile of the individual, the only solution to treating COVID-19 would be a precision medicine approach as every individual is going to be affected differently, despite certain overlapping biomarkers and similar cellular pathway processes. Different kinds of antiviral, anti-inflammatory agents, anti-clotting agents, antioxidants, antibiotics etc will have to be used differently and according to the infected patient’s profile in a personalized treatment protocol.
In terms of antibody therapies and also vaccines, we first have to accept the fact that whatever protection that is being offered by these will only be short-term as already numerous studies are showing that the protection would be anything about 6 to 12 weeks the most. This is not a surprise as all other past immunological studies on the various other coronaviruses in the past had also shown that there is only a short-term protection conferred by antibodies of these coronaviruses.
But what is even more worrisome is that these coronaviruses are also known for Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE) incidences and we can expect to see cases of that in the vaccines that are being developed as time progresses. In the last 48 hours studies have also emerged showing that the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins are mutating as a result of past ‘half baked’ convalescent plasma therapy trials by doctors that did not have the full knowledge of isolating the correct antibodies but merely administering the full plasma or due to none proper recovery of patients, we now have variants that are antibody resistant.(refer to today’s latest news in Thailand Medical News site) Another research has also revealed the existence of variants that are resistant to certain T-Cells. All these are showing that the SARS-C0V-2 coronavirus is adapting and evolving quickly to evade human immune responses.
It again does not help that the Trump administration is pushing the development of vaccines quickly through the use of money etc. In a recent deal, the Trump administration is pushing for a 100 million doses of the vaccine to be ready as early as the end of the year for usage on Americans. (I really pity American as the have a President who regards them lower than lab rats). Despite being a firm believer of vaccines, I would this time round join the anti-vaxxers and tell all to steer clear of these vaccines as they are being developed too fast without proper safety studies especially in terms of long term effects etc. Getting vaccines ready for use by end of the year or even by early next year without proper long-term safety testing is really risky. (They should first be used on the researchers and their immediate families, the owners and boards of these pharma and biotech companies, the governments who are pushing these vaccines too fast without considering safety issues and also on their immediate families and in the case of America, it should be used on all of Trump’s followers and their families and on all Republicans first). The rest can wait for about 6 to 12 months and till there is no reactions or if there are, they can go on the second generation versions that have been better tested and modified.
Also, with almost 27,000 genomic sequencings of the SARS-CoV-2 done, not much has been learnt due to the fact that many virologists and genomic experts are looking at things from a “dinosaur perspective’ or “old school of thought” where in some cases assumptions are being made that minor mutations have no real effects or relevance when this is not really the case. Also many research findings are not properly shared with other teams across the world despite advances in technology and AI (artificial intelligence).
So coming back to the question as to where we are? Despite claims by some that there has been much progress compared to day one where we had the WHO giving fake information it is not transmissible via humans to humans or that it was not airborne etc, we still are clueless as everyday there is new data that supersedes whatever we knew yesterday.
We are just only even touching the very tip of the iceberg about the long term health implications of recovered and asymptomatic COVID-9 patients. But already from what we know, the picture is extremely grim.
The only way that this crisis can be solved is if everybody starts dropping their ego, selfishness and greed and instead work as one big team sharing data and information and the whole policy and decision processes to be handled by trained medical and scientific professionals and not medically untrained government or political figures. (But definitely not the WHO or anybody remotely connected with the WHO and definitely not dumb Trump). The world is in a real serious crisis that is going to get exponentially worse and it needs a different kind of leadership to steer it out of this mess. Come year end, the whole pandemic will be moving into another phase never witnessed in the history of mankind.
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