Are we close to finding a cure for Covid-19?
Filipina scientist Dr. Joann Diray-Arce is confident that different teams of scientists and experts around the world are doing well in their research and development in finding a cure for COVID-19.
However, she noted that the efforts for now are mostly focused in developing vaccines for COVID-19, managing the virus and providing an effective course of treatment so as to avoid complications and mortality.
“So far I think it’s really doing well. Maraming trials na nangyayari within WHO (World Health Organization), NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) — the active trial is one of those, in which they are doing multiple randomized trials about different treatments,” said Dr. Diray-Arce.
Dr. Diray-Arce is the computing lead for the clinical and data coordinating center of the Immunophenotyping Assessment in a COVID-19 Cohort (IMPACC) research project, an ongoing clinical study on COVID-19 patients that helps in determining recommendations for COVID-19 care, and identification of experimental treatments.
“Upang ma-assess ang mga patients na naospital sa COVID-19, we’re actually gonna follow them for 12 months. Kukunin ang kanilang mga dugo, nasal swab…kapag nasa ventilator, kukuha ng samples. Gusto po naming malaman kung ano ang epekto sa kanilang mga genes, sa metabolites ng katawan, and even sa mga anti-bodies. Bakit yung iba na may COVID-19, madaling makarecover, bakit yung iba namamatay? We determine the biomarkers, and if there’s anything we can do in terms of treatment and production of vaccines,” she explained.
With the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte recently ordered the Food and Drug Administration to hold clinical trials in the country for the use of the controversial anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin on coronavirus patients.
Dr. Diray-Arce stressed that the findings of a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study of the international panel of experts revealed that Ivermectin did not produce significant results in curing COVID-19 symptoms when administered to people with mild coronavirus.
“Yung Ivermectin, it was a part of that and that is why they’ve figured out that it won’t work and it doesn’t have significant difference comparing to those who got the placebo drug—on people have COVID and also in terms of hospitalization time.”
For now, the global community of scientists are tirelessly running studies on multiple drugs for COVID-19 which includes antiviral prescriptions but there is not any drug known yet to effectively cure the virus.
“I can’t really say, for now it is more on treatment rather than cure. As you know, it is very hard to cure a viral infection. It is usually a treatment against a viral infection,” Diray-Arce admitted.