COVID-19: Reflections, So Far

JOURNAL TITLE: Bengal Physician Journal

Author
1. Partha S Ray
ISSN
DOI
10.5005/jp-journals-10070-7019
Volume
7
Issue
2
Publishing Year
2020
Pages
4
Author Affiliations
    1. Department of Neurology, NHS England, The Walton Centre for Neurology, Liverpool, England.
  • Article keywords
    Atlanta, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19, Global economy, Lockdown, Middle East respiratory syndrome, Quarantine, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2, Suicide, Swachh Bharat, World Health Organization

    Abstract

    Never in the history of mankind has the global scientific and medical community been subjected to such a testing time as in the coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic triggered off by the novel RNA severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus of 125 nm size. Despite the concerted efforts of the entire world, we do not seem to be making progress in being able to confidently recommend evidence-based pharmacological interventions in affected patients or advise governments on immunological interventions to avoid mass fatalities that are already in very significant numbers throughout the developed and the developing world including unfortunately in India. This has been a wake-up call for researchers, virologists, and immunologists to undertake more critical research into the deficiencies of our knowledge base that has been exposed by the current pandemic. The shift of recent research since the last HIV scare in the early 1980s has been toward noncommunicable diseases and drug development has also followed the same trend. There has been considerable progress on antibiotic resistance although antiviral therapies have not made progress in line with potential emergence of novel viruses as has been cruelly demonstrated in this current pandemic. The immunological responses that have been so varied to the current pathogen in individuals are again a matter of further research and understanding of human immunology and its complex response to cancers, autoimmune diseases, and external pathogens—further research is necessary here. The long-term impact of COVID-19 illness spectrum remains to be seen as clinicians and basic scientists put their heads together to evaluate the clinical profile of the illness spectrum from case records of recovered patients and those who succumbed and evidence-based treatment approaches need to be available instead of the best guess treatments that we are practicing presently to save lives. Immunologists, virologists, clinical trial experts, and pharmacologists are now tasked to develop evidence-based pharmacological therapies and efficient vaccines to rebuild the confidence of the population and governments globally who have always relied upon and respected healthcare stakeholders to protect global health. We live in uncertain times filled with anxiety and disruption of normal human lifestyle habits. Never has the tolerance, patience, and fortitude of the global village, we live in and of the economic fallouts arising been tested to the hilt as much as we have seen in these last six months. Hopefully, we should be able to see the light at the end of the “COVID-19” tunnel soon. Going forward, we hope we emerge as a stronger human civilization being able to collaborate, cooperate, and cohabit this beautiful planet and together we become masters of our destiny so that future generations will be grateful to us for having taken responsible decisions during times of crisis that threatened our civilization and brought all of us proverbially to our knees.

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