There is hope ahead. Science lead by the USA, is rapidly advancing in two critical areas, testing and treatment/prevention.
I have looked at the model that the science experts are using to predict the outbreak. The reaction by DeWine in Ohio is based on this model. The flattening of the curve is an attempt to allow healthcare -hospitals- to prepare for the worst and Science to manufacture tests and find and make a drug treatment. What we are now doing does not prevent the outbreak. The outbreak if left unchecked would be short but with a mass of people needing help. The shutting down the economy with social distancing will spread the people infected out over a longer time. Science is doing its part as treatment studies are positive and tests are numerous.
An official at China’s Science and Technology Ministry said Fujifilm’s Toyama Chemical anti-viral flu medicine Avigan (favipiravir) is “clearly effective” in treating CoVid19. In a study with 340 patients, the drug has shown a high degree of safety. Patients given the drug turned negative for the virus in 4 days instead of 11 days. And 91% of patients receiving the drug had lung improvement vs 62% for patients without the drug.
The Toyama Chemical are conducting their own study in Japan. A Japenese Health official said that it is effective for mild to moderate patients but does not seem as helpful for patients with more severe symptoms where the virus has already multiplied. Two anti-viral HIV medicines show the same results, lopinavir, and ritonavir.
This suggests that these medicines, like Gilead Science anti-viral remdesivir, stop the virus from multiplying ( a process called replicating). This allows the body’s immune system to kill the current virus. Or using a war analogy, the body’s army can bring up reinforcements to attack the enemy which has no reinforcements or escape available. But if the enemy has an overwhelming number already present, then it can still defeat the body’s army before reinforcements (antibodies) are available.
These medicines are best used to prevent illness. HIV medicines are already used to prevent infection in healthcare workers who may have been accidentally exposed by preventing the virus from multiplying at the start. It works.
The hopeful news is that Chlorohydroquine works by preventing the virus from entering a cell and also can kill the virus inside a cell. At least in a test tube. The results out of Europe are encouraging as this medicine is used with azithromycin (Z-pak). The azithromycin does not attack the virus but it improves lung recovery. (Note: Z-pak is used as the brand name. The dosage is not the Zpak).
The world’s science lead by the USA has proceeded extremely rapidly. Never has the science community advanced this quickly. This is becasue we have the genome of the CoVid19 virus. This allowed rapid identification of possible vaccines, drugs and tests.
There are so many companies making tests, that I have lost count. And just this past week, test results went from 4 hours, to 1 hour, to 30 minutes, to 15 minutes, to yesterday the FDA approved Abbot labs 10-minute test that can run on doctor office equipment which is now used for flu and strep tests. Capitalism at its best. If there is a market, (need/demand) a private company will work overtime to solve the problem. (Note: the difference in time also is a result of how many test samples are done at one time. The longer tests are testing hundreds of samples. The Doctor’s office equipment will max at 4 samples an hour. Both are needed.)
One point is much more is happening then the media is reporting. Just in drug treatment, there are four University anti-viral research drugs undergoing testing.
And one last caution. This virus is NOT AIRBORNE. There is no evidence that it is airborne. But the CDC at the start of social distancing and isolation cautioned that although there is no evidence of this virus being airborne, it is still very early in the fact-finding process, that they wanted healthcare workers to gown up as if it could be airborne. The distancing is because a person when they speak can emit very small droplets of mouth fluid (spit).
Stay home and be safe. The model’s worst case is this lasts till June but may end sooner if testing and treatment remain positive.