Prof. Dr. M. Yasin Khan Durrani
TODAY, people are getting weary of the pandemic due to COVID-19, infected over 90.9 million people worldwide and 1.94 million deaths by Jan’2021., derailing the global economy and turning the life upside down. Currently, the virus is significantly mutating and the scientists are struggling for a promising vaccine. However, the curve is not flattening as indicated by WHO Chief Mr. Tedros Adhanom at Paris Peace Forum. He advised “be vigilant and take the precautions” Many countries have adopted new lockdown measures to protect their creaking Health Care System.
Are we helpless against the surge of virus, the restrictions such as social distancing and mask wearing is helping to certain extent, as the signs of new infection are falling at some places but the situation seems to worsen as the hospitals have “reached their limits”. Germany has imposed tough measures to help slow down with strict restrictions on bars, restaurants, and cultural centers, advising people to improve their immunity as well. The pandemic is likely to continue during the winter or at least for the next 5 years till we get an effective vaccine which seems to be a wishful thinking at this stage, as explained by WHO representative Erik Berglof. It is most crucial for the Governments to take effective measures to control the spike of the virus. In fact, it seems we have to learn to live with it.
Scientists are searching the origin of virus. In USA, they have reached the conclusion from 7000 blood donations and suggested that the virus existed much earlier than Dec’2019. In Italy they have detected the infection in Sep’2019, earlier than China and contradicted the politician to be a “China Virus”; whereas WHO reported that “where an epidemic is first detected does not necessarily mean where it started”; or the virus has leaked from some laboratory being “Man Made”. However, WHO D.G., Tedre A. Chebreyesus has urged that the origin of Virus should not be politicized, it may create barriers to learning the truth. However, till now its origin remains obscure, not to be disrupted by rhetoric theories.
Scientists should seek the COVID-19 biology to the extent it elicits antibodies, anti-viral therapy and accurate tool-kit. We must understand that the community transmission could be eliminated within certain boundaries. Short time emergency measures like blanket lock-down is not a sustainable solution. Strong economic support, strict use of SOP’s are the vital requirements but all these are supportive measures to slow down its transmission. We have to devise long term strategies, amenable to local conditions, which greatly matter. In the meantime we should stop placing hopes on a quick return to “Normal”.
Viral infections accumulate WBC leading to the presence of reactive oxygen, inflammatory cytokines producing immunity suppression and inflammatory damage with increased viral replication. Currently steroids, immunoglobulin, anti-citokine blockers are used. These are expensive and its complications may restrict their use. Moreover, Catalase is a naturally occurring anti-oxidant enzyme present in the liver, RB Cells and epithelial cells lining the alveoli of the lungs, also available in dietary supplements as well. Catalase suppresses the inflammatory process and oxidative cell injury as observed in UK, USA and Sweden with reduced symptoms in females because they have robust immune system. The study was concluded by Prof. Naveed Sattar from Glasgow University and Prof. Saif Shaheen from London. and in those who are using MV, Vit-D, Omega-3, Probiotics, good diet with lots fruits rich in Vit C.
Researchers have observed that COVD-19 can infect a significant number of mammals, pets, cats and dogs even non-human cells through trans-membrane, central to virus ability to infect. The British Journal of Dermatology has also identified RNA gene in SARS-COV-2 and finger prints of COVID-19 virus in skin pathology. Now, the Chinese have boosted their efforts for traditional medicines (TCM) Qingfei Paidu Tang extensively used with promising efficacy as recorded by NATC a top drug Authority of China and have started analyzing scientific data where 90% of the patents with significant improvement. However, it needs sufficient scientific evidence. Currently, the scientists has also observed that UV-C radiation commonly used for skin disorders n is very effective in killing Corona Virus in less than 2 minutes from N-95 masks and respirators to maximize the safety., even ethanol is very effective to eliminate the virus from commonly used articles as published in Journal of Infectious Diseases from Michigan University. According to New England Journal of Medicine, trial of Barictinib used in (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and Remdesive (Anti-viral used in EBOLA) both approved by FDA are anti-inflammatory, reduce the recovery period and viral load in the body, but WHO has cautioned against the use of these drugs in marginalized risky patients. British pharmacies are developing nasal sprays containing Carrageenan and Gallan commonly used as safe products in food and drinks. These can prevent virus to infect body cells.
Recently reported in the journal Lancet (UK) that 76% of the discharged patients were found to have at least one ongoing symptoms like fatigue, weakness, sleep difficulties and reduced kidney function; low level of antibodies in 94% of the patients which improve with the time. However, WHO Chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan has warned that we may not be able to completely get ridden of the viral infection in 2021.
—The author is a retired Professor from Rawalpindi Medical University and an Hon. Professor at Tianjin University, China. He is also a recipient of Presidential Scientific Award and Pride of Karachi University.