Pandemic COVID-19 outbreak

Within two decades of surfacing of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002 - 2003, a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012, this is the third time that another fatal virus, coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has been detected in Dec 2019 in Wuhan, China. The world is confronting this emergency. Internationally, Public Health Emergency has been declared by the World Health Organization(WHO) on 30th Jan 2020. Pandemic COVID-19 infections are analysed on the basis of the number of cases in million people per day, thereby calling for public health emergency.
COVID-19 is an enveloped RNA virus having surface spikes and has a wide host range. This can fly. Geographic locations, age, and sex are not the bar of infections. Its mean incubation period is 5.2 days. Key symptoms are fever, cough associated with pneumonia. Bilateral multiple lung lobes in the lower and/or periphery position observed by the Chest CT scan. It has to pay attention to the need to develop effective therapies against the causative agent (Tang et al., 2020).  
The worldwide recommended molecular test of choice for the diagnosis of COVID-19 is real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). Antibody-based techniques are also being recently used as supplementary tools to detect COVID-19.
Due to the absence of potential antiviral therapy against COVID-19, current treatments are primarily focused on symptomatic diagnosis and provision of respiratory support to the affected patients. Simultaneously, several types of research have been conducted to develop an effective therapeutic strategy against COVID-19. According to the scientific research reported till now, some of the drugs developed by the researchers are illustrated and  promising results in the reduction of viral load among patients have been observed. Most of them are already approved for other diseases and have acceptable safety profiles. These include protease inhibitors (Lopinavir/Ritonavir), nucleoside analogs (Remdesivir, Ribavirin, Oseltamivir, Favipiravir), antimalarial drug (Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine), anti-inflammatory drug (Camostat Mesylate). Among these, some drugs are already showing their anti-COVID-19 potential in clinical trials. Besides drug treatment, other strategies are also employed to combat COVID-19 disease. For example, to boost the immunity of patients, researchers use ‘convalescent’ plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients or monoclonal antibodies directed against COVID-19.

Dr. Sandhimita Mondal,
Head, Dept.of Microbiology, 
Techno India University,West Bengal 


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