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dcyphr | Treatment of COVID-19: old tricks for new challenges

Challenges in treating COVID-19 

    Coronavirus was first discovered in December 2019. The largest issue will be the rapid increase in critically ill patients. As of March 16th, there is no vaccine or drug available and current provisions focus on supportive care: oxygenation, ventilation, and fluid management. Currently, herbal treatments, anti-malarial, and anti-viral medications show potential promise as  an effective treatment.


Convalescent plasma: one of the forgotten immunologically based strategies 

    Using plasma from recovered patients showed to cause a significant reduction in mortality and viral load. This was demonstrated with SARS-CoV and MERS-COV. No adverse side effects were noted. This therapy requires more research. New studies from China National Biotec Group Co have claimed similar reductions in viral load, inflammation, and symptoms after infusion of plasma. 


Potential Risks and ethical considerations 

    Currently there is evidence that demonstrates a higher risk same-day thrombotic (clot-forming event) after infusion with human plasma. Given the lack of knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 it is advised to refrain from its use at this current moment. Similarly there is a lack of high-quality studies on this subject. Ethical acquisition of human plasma must be ensured. 


Conclusion

    No treatment plans are in place as of yet. It is too soon to see what will prove to have efficacy, but some preliminary results show promise, specifically the use of serum from recovered COVID-19 patients.