As time goes on, promising developments have occurred in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. Listed below are some recent developments in regards to COVID treatment and prevention.
According to MayoClinic, there is one effective FDA-approved medication to treat COVID-19 and there are many others still in trial. The approved drug, called Remdesivir, is proven to be safe for people 12 years and older. As of now, antiviral medications as well as anti-inflammatory drugs and therapy are being tested for efficacy. Immune-based therapies, such as convalescent plasma therapy, have been authorized for use since March and have been helpful when administered to hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
JPost reports that in Israel, scientists are hopeful about a new treatment that comprises administering a specific exosome to the patient. Exosomes are a natural vesicle that can be found in any type of bodily fluid. They play an integral part in transporting messages and molecules to other cells, and in a target specific manner. The particular exosome that the Israeli scientists are working with, EXO-CD24, is thought to deliver the CD24 protein to the lungs, which is hypothesized to calm down the immune system’s attack on the lungs. So far, the treatment seems promising, as all the patients suffering from moderate-to-severe COVID-19 treated with this treatment have quickly recovered. Researchers are currently waiting for the approval to continue trials using this method.
In regards to vaccines and hopefully ending the pandemic, there are two FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines, one made by Pfizer and the other by Moderna, both of which have proven to be about 95% effective against COVID-19. These two vaccines are administered in two doses a month apart and are the only ones available in America as of this date. In the past week, J and J, another pharmaceutical company, petitioned for the use of their COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for those 18 and older. The vaccine is administered in one dose and is shown to be about 70% effective, which is more protection than the influenza vaccine is thought to provide. Although some people are still hesitant about receiving the vaccine, many Americans, especially those over 65, are becoming more receptive to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the County of Los Angeles Public Health, the vaccines will be limited during the first few months but will eventually be available to the wider population.
The first tier of the population allowed to get the vaccine, which began vaccination in mid-December, encompasses health workers and those living in long term facilities. The second tier –anyone age 65 and older, those who work in education or childcare, food, agriculture and emergency services- were the next to get the vaccine in February. According to the model of tiers, people with disabilities or at high risk who are between the ages of 16- 64 should expect to have the vaccine available to them mid-March.
Quarantine rules have eased for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination and more vaccines are being ordered by the government.