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Researchers develop roadmap for effective treatment of COVID-19

By Chukwuma Muanya (Lagos) and Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan
02 June 2020   |   3:12 am
A team of United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) researchers have developed a roadmap for effective treatment of COVID-19

Virus disrupts health services for NCDs, says WHO
– As Nigerian scientists make progress in vaccines, seek assistance

A team of United States (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) researchers have developed a roadmap for effective treatment of COVID-19, outlining key immunological events capable of accelerating from protective to a hyper-inflammatory response leading to life-threatening conditions.

In a study published yesterday in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, they outlined a list of drugs either understudy or under consideration for use in COVID-19 based on their potential to influence the key immunological events.

The drugs include those that could inhibit Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) entry into host cells, antivirals with the potential to block SARS-CoV-2 replication or factors that could boost the antiviral response, monoclonal antibodies targeting pro-inflammatory cytokines that drive the hyper-inflammatory response and therapeutics that could improve the lungs functions.

The researchers reviewed all of the COVID-19 clinical and research findings to date. They provided a breakdown of key immunological factors underlying the clinical stages of COVID-19 illness that could potentially be targeted by existing therapeutic drugs.

A senior author of the review, Dr. Montserrat Puig of the FDA, said, “There are multiple factors involved in determining if the patient’s immune response will be insufficient or successful in combating the infection.

Besides, separate reports released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted prevention and treatment services for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, hypertension and that several countries were monitoring and reporting antibiotic resistance.

The second report also showed a worrying number of bacterial infections were increasingly resistant to available medicines to treat them, just as Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “The results of this survey confirm what we have been hearing from countries for a number of weeks now.”

WHO added that NCDs kill 41 million people yearly, an equivalent to 71 per cent of all deaths globally, adding that annually, 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 years die from NCDs; more than 85 per cent of these “premature” deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries.

Meanwhile, a group of Nigerian scientists from different institutions coordinated by Vice-Chancellor, Precious Cornerstone University (PCU), Ibadan, Professor Kola Oloke, has developed two potential vaccines that could prevent coronavirus pandemic.

They said the research work has reached an advanced stage of the animal trial experiment, which would help to establish the veracity and efficacy of the vaccines for prevention of the virus.

This was disclosed in a joint statement jointly by Professor Oloke and leaders of the team, Dr. Oladipo Kolawole, a microbiologist who specialises in Medical Virology (Immunology and Bioinformatics) from Adeleke University, Ede and Dr. Ajayi Folorunsho, a Medical Physiologist with specialisation in Pathophysiology from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.

Insisting that they were spurred by the need to rise to the challenges of the pandemic, they said, “We have worked extensively by exploring the SARS-CoV-2 genome from African countries to select the best possible potential vaccine candidates.

“After trying out some selected processes of vaccine development, we have been able to choose the best potential vaccine candidates for the SARS-CoV-2 and they have made the possible latent vaccine constructs.”