The Vaccines and Drugs in Development to Treat COVID-19

In December 2019, numerous cases of pneumonia of unknown causes were being reported in China’s Wuhan area. Medics at first were not aware of the disease and how contagious it was. This led to the government of China downplaying the virus and not taking necessary measures to combat the spread of the disease. After numerous tests were done, it was established that the virus that caused the condition was from the Corona group of viruses. What was shocking about this discovery was that the virus was new to humans. This meant that no other case of the infection had been reported in humans.

Despite other forms of Coronaviruses such as the ones that cause the flu affecting humans, the new Coronavirus had previously only been seen in animals. However, the virus had mutated and jumped from its initial hosts (bats) to humans through an intermediary host (pangolin). It has been reported that the unhygienic interactions with wild animals in the Wuhan market was a leading cause of the mutation. The virus was later named Covid-19. Since then, the virus has spread to almost every country in the world, causing unimaginable havoc. Scientists all over the world are continuously searching for a cure to treat the illness. However, it will probably take months before a cure or a vaccine is released to the populous.

The problem with a virus is that they cannot be treated. This does not, however, mean that a person cannot be cured. There have been more than 100,000 cases of people who have recovered from Covid-19, despite there being no cure. So how is this possible? To answer this, we must first understand how viruses work. Viruses are very tiny and are composed of DNA and a protein coating. They invade cells and use them to multiply themselves.

In most cases, the human immune system can detect these invaders and fight them off. When our immune system successfully fights off a virus, it creates antibodies that help the body better prepare for a subsequent attack. Therefore, modern medicine cannot cure the Corona Virus. Instead, what doctors do is offer supportive care to deal with the symptoms as such our immune system is the most effective weapon against the Corona Virus.

There is no cure for covid-19. However, several drugs are being tested to determine how effective they are at slowing down the symptoms of the disease. The problem with Covid-19 is that it is a new disease, and all drugs being administered are experimental. In the USA, for example, Chloroquine, which is used to treat malaria, has been tested in various clinical trials. Additionally, in China, Favilavir, which is an antiviral drug, was approved to treat the virus. Favilavir was proved to contain fewer side effects and significantly reduced the damage being caused by the virus.

Despite there being no cure for viruses, humans have been able to eradicate them using vaccines. Smallpox was a deadly disease that killed millions of people; however scientists were able to develop a vaccine that eliminated the disease. It is important to note that vaccines do not treat a virus; instead, they help the body be better prepared for a viral attack. As mentioned above, when a virus attacks a human, the immune system creates antibodies that will help it fight the disease in case it strikes again. Vaccines work by introducing controlled doses of a virus to the body. When the body detects this intrusion, it can create antibodies that will help it defend our bodies when the virus attacks in the future. Currently, in the USA, human trials on vaccines have already started. This marks the fastest ever human trials that have taken place after the development of a vaccine. However, it will likely take up to 8 months before the vaccine is approved for human use. One of such vaccines is the TJM2 being developed by I-Mab Biopharma in the USA.