10 good news about Wuhan’s coronavirus that invite optimism
- The Wuhan coronavirus at present has affected 70 countries with a total of almost 90,000 infected and more than 3,000 deaths from CoVid-19, but also more than 45,000 people have recovered.
- Although it has spread to more than 3 geographic regions, it does not refer to its lethality, but to its transmission.
- Here are 10 good news of the coronavirus: from what it is to more than 80 clinical trials that are already under way.
- Discover more stories in Business Insider Spain.
Let’s classify the new coronavirus as a pandemic or not, the subject is serious. Do not take away importance. In less than 2 months it has spread over several continents, but the virus doesn’t care what we call it. A pandemic implies a sustained, effective and continuous transmission of the disease simultaneously in more than 3 different geographical regions. We may already be in that phase, but that is not synonymous with death, because the term does not refer to the lethality of the pathogen but to its transmissibility and geographical extension.
What there certainly is is a pandemic of fear. For the first time in history we are experiencing a real-time epidemic: all the media, several times a day, every day, all over the planet, talk about coronavirus. We follow the drip of each of the live cases. It has even been front page news that the virus in Brazil has mutated 3 times!
1. We know who it is
The first cases of AIDS were described in June 1981 and it took more than 2 years to identify the virus causing the disease. The first cases of severe pneumonia they were notified in China on December 31, 2019 and by January 7 the virus had already been identified.
Is related to bat coronavirus. Genetic tests confirm that you have a recent natural origin (between late November and early December) and that, although viruses live by mutating, their frequency from mutation is not very high.
2. We know how to detect it
Since January 13 is available for everyone a RT-PCR assay to detect the virus.
In recent months they have perfected this type of tests and evaluated its sensitivity and specificity.
3. In China the situation is improving
The strong control and isolation measures imposed by China are paying off. For several weeks now, the number of cases diagnosed decreases every day.
Of the total cases in hospital, the suspects have dropped to only 2.4% and the amount (36,271) has decreased to be almost half of the maximum of February 8 (66,193). pic.twitter.com/Q4NxsV63av
– Alfonso Araujo (@Alf_ArGzz) March 1, 2020
In other countries a very detailed epidemiological follow-up is being done. The foci are very concrete, which can allow them to be controlled more easily. For example in South Korea and Singapore.
4. 80% of cases are mild
The disease causes no symptoms or is mild in 81% of cases. In the remaining 14% you can cause severe pneumonia and in 5% it can become critical or even deadly.
5. People heal
The only data that are sometimes shown in the media are the increase in the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths, but the majority of infected people are cured. There is 13 times more cured patients than deceased, and the proportion is increasing.
6. Does not affect (almost) minors
Only the 3% of cases occur in children under 20 years, and mortality in children under 40 is only 0.2%. In children the symptoms are so mild that it can go unnoticed.
7. The virus is easily inactivated
The virus can be effectively inactivated from the surfaces with a solution of ethanol (62-71% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide (0.5% hydrogen peroxide) or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach), in just 1 minute.
The frequent hand washing with soap and water It is the most effective way to avoid contagion.
8. There are already more than 150 scientific articles
It is the time of science and cooperation. In just over 1 month you can see 164 articles in PubMed About CoVid-19 or SARSCov2, in addition to many others available in article repositories yet not reviewed in pairs (pre-prints). They are preliminary works on vaccines, treatments, epidemiology, genetics and phylogeny, diagnosis and clinical aspects.
These articles They are made by about 700 authors scattered throughout the planet. It is science in common, shared and open. In 2003, when the SARS happened, it took more than a year to obtain less than half of the articles.
In addition, most scientific journals have left their funds on coronaviruses open.
9. There are already prototypes of vaccines
Our ability to design new vaccines It is spectacular. There are already more than 8 projects against the new coronavirus. There are groups that work in vaccine projects against other similar viruses and now they try to change viruses.
What can lengthen its development are all necessary toxicity tests, side effects, safety, immunogenicity and effectiveness in protection. Therefore, there are several months or years, but some prototypes are already underway.
For example, the mRNA-1273 vaccine from Moderna consists of a messenger RNA fragment that encodes a protein derived from the glycoprotein S of the coronavirus surface. This company has similar prototypes. for other viruses.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals has announced a synthetic DNA vaccine for the new coronavirus, INO-4800, also based on the S gene of the virus surface. For its part, Sanofi, will use its recombinant baculovirus expression platform to produce large amounts of the antigen of surface of the new coronavirus.
The vaccine group of the University of Queensland, in Australia, has announced that it is already working on a prototype using the technique called molecular clamp, a novel technology that consists of creating chimeric molecules capable of maintain the original three-dimensional structure of the viral antigen. This allows produce vaccines employed the genome of the virus in record time.
Novavax is another biotechnology company that has announced its work with the coronavirus. It has a technology to produce recombinant proteins that are assembled into nanoparticles and that, with their own adjuvant, are potent immunogens.
In Spain It is the group of Luis Enjuanes and Isabel Sola of the CNB-CSIC who are working on vaccines against coronaviruses for years.
Some of these prototypes will soon be tested in humans.
10. There are more than 80 clinical trials with antivirals in progress
Vaccines are preventive. More important are the possible treatments of people who are already sick. there is already more than 80 clinical trials to analyze coronavirus treatments. Is about antivirals that have been used for other infections, that are already approved and that we know they are safe.
One of those already has been rehearsed in humans is the remove, a broad spectrum antiviral, still under study, which has been tested against Ebola and SARS / MERS. It is an analogue of adenosine that is incorporated into the viral RNA chain and inhibits its replication.
Another candidate is chloroquine, an antimalarial that also has potent antiviral activity. It is known to block the infection by increasing the pH of the endosome that is needed for fusion of the virus with the cell, which inhibits its entry. It has been proven that this compound blocks new coronavirus in vitro and it is already being used in patients to whom the virus has caused pneumonia.
Lopinavir and Ritonavir are 2 protease inhibitors used as antiretroviral therapy that inhibit the final maturation of the AIDS virus. As SARSCov2 protease has been shown to be similar to that of HIV, since this combination has been tested in patients for the coronavirus.
Other proposed trials are based on the use of oseltamivir (a neuraminidase inhibitor used against influenza virus), interferon-1b (protein with antiviral function), antisera from already recovered people and monoclonal antibodies to neutralize the virus. Even new therapies have been suggested with inhibitory substances, such as baricitinibine, selected by artificial intelligence.
The 1918 flu pandemic caused more than 25 million deaths in less than 25 weeks. Could something similar happen again today? As we see, most likely not. We have never been better prepared to fight a pandemic.