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As of 27 March 2020, more than five lakh people have been affected by the novel coronavirus infection, killing more than 25,000 people worldwide. Since there is no specific treatment for this disease, and doctors have been trying to treat people with all the possible treatment options available. Doctors have been using mechanical ventilation, high-flow nasal oxygen (HFNO), non-invasive ventilation, systemic corticosteroids, and various antiviral therapies to treat the symptoms of COVID-19.

Despite all these efforts, some people have not been responding to the treatments. Scientists from different parts of the world have been making innovative efforts in trying to find a cure for this highly contagious disease. Doctors have also repurposed various treatments to see if they can give symptomatic relief to the patients of COVID-19.

Here are five such inventive solutions which are intended to treat the symptoms of COVID-19.

  1. Antibody treatment for COVID-19
  2. Ebola drug for COVID-19
  3. Passive antibody therapy for COVID-19
  4. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for COVID-19
Doctors for 4 inventive solutions to treat symptoms of COVID-19

Scientists have been trying to make use of synthesized antibodies to treat the symptoms of COVID-19. According to a case study, tocilizumab improved the biomarkers of 21 Chinese patients who were suffering from severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

Tocilizumab is a humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are the molecules produced in laboratories which mimic the antibodies produced by the immune system of the body to fight against the foreign cells or the bad cells. They have the ability to bind to the antigens present on the surface of unhealthy cells.

In this case, tocilizumab binds to the IL-6 receptor to deactivate it. IL-6 causes a potent cytokine (immune cell of the body) which activates inflammation in the body. Tocilizumab is commonly used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

The Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) has announced an independent trial on tocilizumab. The trial, known as TOCIVID-19, would be done to test the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab for the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia.

During the outbreak of Ebola, Gilead Sciences developed a drug called Remdesivir, which was supposed to fight Ebola and the related viruses by shutting down the viral replication. Remdesivir does this by hindering the enzyme RNA polymerase, which is necessary for the virus multiplication.

The research done in test tubes and on animals (rhesus macaque monkeys with MERS-CoV infection) in the year 2017 showed that Remdesivir has the ability to inhibit the SARS and MERS viruses. The preclinical studies depicted that it could be effective for both the prevention and treatment of coronavirus infections.

Whenever a foreign object (called an antigen) enters our body, our immune system forms a fighting agent against it, which is called an antibody. The vaccinations we all have been given right from childhood are medically called active vaccinations as they directly do not provide immunity to our body.

Active vaccination activates the immunity of our body to fight against the vaccine and make antibodies against it. So the next time when the same antigen comes in the body, the immune system kills it.

Passive antibody treatment involves the direct delivery of antibodies in a person to kill a specific agent. This treatment is done to prevent or treat an infectious disease that can be caused due to that agent. Passive antibody administration is the only done to provide immediate immunity to the people who are susceptible to a specific disease. 

In the case of COVID-19, blood is drawn from a person who has recovered from COVID-19 infection. Their blood is screened for virus-neutralizing antibodies. Then, the serum containing a high amount of neutralizing antibodies is separated from the blood.

The serum is then injected in the body of the high-risk cases, such as people with underlying medical conditions, healthcare professionals and the people with confirmed COVID-19 infection. This therapy is not being given yet but is expected to be in action very soon.

Tissue plasminogen activator is a type of protein that has been used for people who suffer from a heart attack or a stroke. tPA helps in resolving the clot present either in the heart or brain of the affected people.

Doctors from China and Italy stated that one of the primary causes of death in most of the patients of COVID-19 was the clotting of blood in the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism. Also, previous research indicates that blood clotting is one of the major reasons for respiratory failure in people as it stops the oxygen supply to the body’s blood.

Scientists have got approval from the FDA to start an experimental clinical trial to test the effectiveness of the drug for COVID-19 patients.

Dr Rahul Gam

Dr Rahul Gam

Infectious Disease
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Arun R

Dr. Arun R

Infectious Disease
5 Years of Experience

Dr. Neha Gupta

Dr. Neha Gupta

Infectious Disease
16 Years of Experience

Dr. Lalit Shishara

Dr. Lalit Shishara

Infectious Disease
8 Years of Experience

References

  1. Cascella M, Rajnik M, Cuomo A, et al. Features, Evaluation and Treatment Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Updated 2020 Mar 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet].
  2. Arturo Casadevall et al. The convalescent sera option for containing COVID-19 The Journal of Clinical Investigation. American Society for Clinical Investigation. March 13, 2020.
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