Health

Coronavirus disease: Have experts found a cure yet?

In most cases, doctors administered common drugs like Paracetamol to keep fever under control

 
Published: Friday 13 March 2020

Researchers are yet to find a vaccine or a cure for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak — declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The virus spread to 125 countries and infected more than 123,000 patients across the world in just three and a half months.

Only symptomatic relief is being given to infected patients as of now.

Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, a COVID-19 infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.

The disease, however, has a mortality rate of around 3 per cent. This is why experts say the immune system of most patients is good enough to combat the virus.

In most cases, doctors administered common drugs like Paracetamol to keep fever under control or pain killers for body aches associated with the common flu.

Patients are also kept well hydrated.

The WHO said while both modern and traditional medicines can provide relief, “there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease”.

No existing vaccines can be used to prevent the virus either, according to the WHO.

A warning was also issued against self-medication by the United Nations’ health body. Taking antibiotics would not help as COVID-19 was a virus and not a bacterial infection, the WHO said.

Two second line anti-HIV drugs, Lopinavir and Ritonavir, were being used on an experimental basis in a few emergency and rare cases.

The efficacy of the two drugs is not yet proven. Limited trials in China have yielded negative results.

India — where 77 cases of the infection were reported as of March 12, 2020— was given permission to use them only as an emergency measure.

Three Indians from Kerala who were discharged after they recovered from the virus, were treated only for flu-like symptoms.

The WHO said the best way to contain the virus is through proper hygiene including washing hands regularly with soap or alcohol based sanitisers.

Maintaining respiratory hygiene —including covering the mouth with a tissue or cupping it with the elbow while sneezing or coughing — is also advised by the WHO. 

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