The COVID19 virus affects different people in different ways. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate coronavirus disease symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment. People who have underlying medical conditions and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death.
Common coronavirus disease symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses) and include:
Treatment of Coronavirus disease 2019 is mainly supportive care, which may include fluid, oxygen support, and supporting other affected vital organs. The WHO and CDC recommend that those who suspect they carry the virus wear a simple face mask. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been used to address the issue of respiratory failure, but its benefits are still under consideration.
Some medical professionals recommend paracetamol (acetaminophen) over ibuprofen for first-line use. The WHO does not oppose the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen for symptoms; currently there is no evidence that NSAIDs worsen COVID-19 symptoms. Steroids such as methylprednisolone are not recommended unless the disease is complicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome.
There is no available vaccine, but coronavirus research into developing a vaccine has been undertaken by various agencies. There are three vaccination strategies being investigated:
First, researchers aim to build a whole virus vaccine. The use of such a virus (inactive or dead) aims to elicit a prompt immune response of the human body to a new infection with COVID-19.
A second strategy, subunit vaccines, aims to create a vaccine that sensitises the immune system to certain subunits of the virus. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, such research focuses on the S-spike protein that helps the virus intrude the ACE2 enzyme receptor.
A third strategy is that of the nucleic acid vaccines (DNA or RNA vaccines, a novel technique for creating a vaccination).
COVID-19 is a precedent-shattering monster of a pandemic. There’s never been anything quite like it.
Historians of public health have struggled mightily to find apt comparisons to our current pandemic. They’ve landed most often on the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918. On the surface, their reasoning makes sense: A lethal virus quickly spreads globally and infects millions.
It’s still early days for 2 coronavirus vaccine candidates, but trial results published yesterday in The Lancet earned promising (though qualified) results.
The first vaccine, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and sporting the catchy name of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, safely generated strong immune responses in a trial involving 1,000+ patients, according to a Lancet article reported on by The Washington Post.
Larger phase 3 trials of the vaccine are already underway in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa with results expected sometime this fall, STAT reports.
Frontline health workers report a frustrating return to shortages of protective gear.
The White House’s suggestion? Reuse their face masks and personal protective equipment, reports Fox News, citing Vice President Mike Pence’s comments yesterday.
National Nurses United expressed alarm over the persistent shortages and message to reuse their gear. "We’re five months into this and there are still shortages of gowns, hair covers, shoe covers, masks, N95 masks," says its president, Deborah Burger.
Evidence is mounting that tiny, infectious COVID-19 droplets linger in the air longer than once thought, according to a group of scientists urging the WHO to update its guidance, The Washington Post reports.
200+ scientists from 30 countries collaborated on an open letter—set to be published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease—directed at the agency, which has maintained that SARS-CoV-2 is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets that quickly sink to the floor.