Perspectives on Coronavirus

face of the enemy

May 31, 2020

The unpleasant message is finally sinking in, despite the unwillingness of certain politicians to accept it. The will be no widely available safe, and effective vaccine for at least a year, and perhaps longer, even much longer. The earlier, optimistic predictions of a workable vaccine that would be available this year in billions of doses is now recognized to be wildly unrealistic. Despite a worldwide effort, and many candidates, some of which have shown promise, in the pipeline, there are so many roadblocks and possibilities of failure, that we will be indeed fortunate to have a workable vaccine by the end of 2021, and possibly later. 

However, work is proceeding on various therapeutic possibilities, and perhaps the most promising at this time is Remdesivir, not a new treatment, but an approved drug that is now showing promise in early trials on Covid19. While results are not totally consistent at this time, a recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine states that in a double blind study of 1059 patients with the disease, those who received remdesivir had a median recovery time of 11 days as compared with 15 days in those who received a placebo. Mortality estimates  were 7.1% with remdesivir and 11.9% with the placebo.

Although this is not a vast difference, and it conflicts with other studies, it is an extremely well-conducted investigation, carried out in the face of numerous roadblocks, and one which serve as a gateway to future trials. There are many, many parameters that will need to be adjusted and there are caveats that will need to be addressed. However, this is a drug that was specifically designed to target the coronavirus family, and if the trial had failed, the outlook would be bleak indeed. 

We can look with great anticipation to future results from this line of investigation. 


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