6 months after the coronavirus pandemic: progress and unknowns about a disease that does not go away

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The unknown aspects of the virus are still many, but progress suggests that a vaccine is near.

In the world there were already 4600 dead by coronavirus when the World Health Organization (WHO) made the decision to classify it as a pandemic. That happened on March 11, 2020, just as the epicenter of the disease was beginning to move from Asia to Europe. Six months from that moment, there are many things we still do not know about the virus, but some unknowns have been revealed, and a successful vaccine seems to be at hand.

The cold numbers from the pandemic paint a bleak picture of the damage produced by the SarsCov-2 coronavirus: more than 900,000 deaths, 28 million infected, and a disease that is now found on all continents, in a scenario where the countries that have managed to avoid the virus make up a minimal list.

The dynamics of the epidemic appear to be a swing constant in different parts of the world. Countries that seemed to have gotten rid of the virus, from South Korea and Japan to Italy and Spain, have suffered secondary outbreaks during the boreal summer months that show that no one can lower their guard in their health strategy.

On a global scale, however, the number of infections appears to have stabilized for several weeks in about 300,000 new cases per day. It is practically a certainty that the year will culminate under the sign of Covid-19.

Although the coronavirus has continued to spread, the past six months have they have taught a lot about him. Its means of transmission are now fairly well established, and its ability to contaminate by aerosols is proven.

It is now known that a person is capable of infecting on average up to 3 days before the onset of symptoms, and up to 5 days after they disappear. In turn, it is known that asymptomatic people they represent about half of all cases.

Most importantly, the management of Covid-19 patients has also improved since then. It is true that still there is no miracle cure. But after having to improvise solutions to deal with an emergency situation six months ago, medical teams now have less invasive and traumatic therapies for patients.

The discovery of the efficacy of dexamethasone and corticosteroids in limiting the inflammatory effects of the disease has also led to a significant reduction in mortality.

Basic research has also made great strides. Antibodies have been identified, the virus is better characterized, and three possible vaccines to prevent the disease are in phase 3 of clinical trials.

The only disappointing news is that AstraZeneca recently suspended its clinical trials following the discovery of side effects in a patient. All these factors point to the possibility of a vaccine in a few months.

The Sars-Cov-2 virus, and the disease it produces, COVID-19, however, still have many secrets. What level of acquired immunity is acquired after a first infection?

The first case of a second infection reported a few weeks ago by the University of Hong Kong suggests that this immunity It is not permanent, which would be very bad news.

What about the seasonality of the dynamics of epidemics? Why in some countries there is a sharp increase in the number of infections without increasing the hospitalizations and deaths?

Six months after the declaration of the pandemic, 10 months after the discovery of this coronavirus, we are still far from finished with it. Is it possible that we will get rid of it one day or will we have to get used to living with the virus? Unfortunately, once again, Only time has the answers.

Source: RFI




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