Corona Virus Antivirals, Hydroxychloroquine and Vaccines

I am sure almost all of us across the world are under lock-down or staying indoor maintaining social distancing. We all are wary of negative Corona Virus news and wants to escape all this, just like me. But with COVID 19 cases exceeding over 2.4 million globally, at least for now we cannot. We must follow the norms provided by our local government to tackle with current pandemic situation. Let’s explore impressive fossa in regards with Corona Virus and that is Antivirals such as Hydroxychloroquine and Vaccines. Everyone is talking about it but what exactly is this? Antivirals are medicine to treat viral infections just like Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Basically, Antivirals inhibit the capacity of virus to replicate and hence they are most effective when administered shortly after infection before too many host cells are infected. On the other hand, Vaccine is preventive method of defense by training body’s immune system to fight back against viral infection by creating antibodies. Another difference between two is, Antivirals are effective only for shorter duration after administration to infected person. This prevents worsening of the infection. However, Vaccine is given to healthy individual to provide a lifetime immunity against the virus.

Thought Vaccine looks like a better solution, it would take at least a year to be available for use. As current Corona Virus is too new, researchers do not know much about it. Fortunately, it is like other viruses from corona virus family like SARS virus and MARS virus. researchers believe current corona virus (SARS-CoV2) follows the same process of replication in the host cells. It’s crown like receptor proteins binds with host cells. Then it sends the RNA genome into the host cell and start replicating the RNA genome. Each one of them then turns into virions (Baby viruses) and then they are released to infect other host cells. What Antivirals does is, they break this chain of multiplication by hampering any one of the processes, either binding, genome replication or release.

For researchers to come up with a new Antiviral takes extensive research work, time and money. It must under go rigorous clinical trials to be sure on its safety and efficacy before it could gain an approval from FDA for its use in human beings. To fast track this process researchers are trying to make use of some Antivirals which have already gone through rigorous process of testing and clinical trials and are already in use for other diseases. Two of such Antivirals are Choloquine and its derivative Hyroxychloroquine. Choloquine is an Anti-Malarial drug and Hyroxychloroquine is effective in Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus. President Trump have repetitively mentioned about these drugs in US Covid-19 task force briefing. However, there is no definitive evidence that these Antivirals are effective in treating COVID-19.

A group of researchers believe that Hyroxychloroquine has a role to play in restricting the infection by hampering the binding process to host cells and thus arrest the infection from worsening. Researchers also believe that Hyroxychloroquine is effective in controlling the hyper reaction of the immune system in response to corona virus infection. This hyper immune response causing severe inflammation of the lungs is a leading cause of mortality in COVID-19. FDA has authorized the emergency use of already approved antivirals during COVID-19 outbreak, but they have not approved Choloquine and Hyroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. So bottom line is there is no clear picture for the treatment of COVID-19. Patients are still are not clear on what to expect in terms of treatment for them. Researchers are working rigorously to find out an Antivirals for COVID-19 but they do need more time for this.

Corona Virus Antivirals Hydroxychloroquine and Vaccines

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  1. Very well written Sneha!

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