|Back in March, I wrote several articles about the coronavirus pandemic, and at the time had high hopes that it would be on its way out by now thanks to new treatments for coronavirus. Obviously, that is not happening. I continue to read as many articles as possible from many different sources, and there is still so much unknown about this novel virus. Unfortunately, the onset of warmer weather has not had an impact on diminishing the strength of the virus and the degree of severity of illness that I had hoped, again another difference between COVID 19 and flu virus and other coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS.
With so much about COVID 19 being learned in real-time as we treat infected patients and employ broader testing strategies, the preventive actions that can be used to dampen viral spread, such as social distancing, hand washing, and wearing facial coverings or masks are necessary and will be so for some time and they’re some of the most effective treatments for coronavirus, in a way. I want to insert here that in the first article that I wrote at the beginning of this pandemic, I had stated that simple masks were likely not helpful in protecting against the virus. Please allow me to clarify that statement. What I saw initially were people wearing paper masks but NOT adhering to other best practices such as distancing, hand washing, and sanitizing. Masks alone will not protect you! But used in addition to these other strategies, masks should be employed, as much to protect others if you are a carrier, as to protect yourself from infection. Further, as we continue to see surges in infection rates in areas where distancing policies have decreased and businesses have opened up bringing people together in indoor spaces, it is clear that these practices were helping and are not to be relaxed yet.
The increased availability of testing has been a positive step and needs to be accessed by anyone who even suspects exposure or illness! The rapid test, done by swab in nasal or oral passages can detect with a reasonably high degree of sensitivity, the current presence of infection. As some people are asymptomatic, or present with very mild symptoms, more widespread testing can help in quarantining active viral cases. Additionally, the blood test for antibodies shows if there is current or past infection. Lab Corp, RealTime Labs, and Quest Diagnostics offer this test. It was originally thought that the presence of antibodies meant that the individual would then be immune to the virus, but now there is great doubt about this. Depending on which research article you read, the rate of viral recurrence with COVID 19 is not only possible but is happening.
What About a Vaccine?
We’re all hoping for new treatments for coronavirus, but the development of a COVID 19 vaccine is problematic on several levels, most of which is the still unknown area of how this particular virus affects the immune response. Things could potentially be made worse by activating certain parts of the immune system but leaving other areas more vulnerable. A successful vaccine will likely be found, but it takes time and many trials to determine effectiveness and safety! Again, this virus does not behave like flu or measles, so developing a vaccine to elicit the proper defense against it will pose new challenges. READ MORE . . .