Follow-up to the COVID interview (level C1)

I initially had the interview with the scientist earmarked for another blog. The original interview was conducted in March, you can read it here:

https://racheldoesinterviews.com/2020/09/04/coronavirus-some-of-the-science-behind-it/

I moved the interview to this blog because it is more accessible and I wanted to update the science to show how the scientific process works. I hope to interview the virologist again to give readers an update on the COVID situation wrt science.

This blog post will be dedicated to my personal update regarding the situation. 

As stated in the previous interview, certain drugs were trialled for COVID-19.

The first drug mentioned in my previous post was hydroxychloroquine. The initial stages of an investigation into a drug look at what is known as in vitro testing, which is a Latin expression meaning “in the glass”; this stage of the testing tests the medication being trialed by using cells in a test tube. Sometimes, a procedure that works in vitro does not work in vivo (in the body); this is because the body is complex, and what works at the cellular level in a test tube does not necessarily work when it is tried in living humans.

Hydroxychloroquine was tested in multiple trials and showed no benefit when it came to post-exposure prophylaxis* or in treating COVID-19.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanrhe/article/PIIS2665-9913(20)30390-8/fulltext

Trials of Remdesivir were conducted as a medication to treat COVID 19 because it is a general anti-viral medication. Remdesivir blocks the activity of an enzyme that is needed for viral replication. In vitro, Remdesivir, and Interferon-beta had an effect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Results for Remdesivir have been mixed. To find out more, follow this link:

https://acpinternist.org/weekly/archives/2020/10/20/2.htm

Factors that can lead to mixed results in clinical trials include:

  • how long the individual has been ill
  • their age
  • issues with statistical power (i.e., whether there are enough individuals in the trial to make the results meaningful), among other things.

Interferon-beta was trialed for COVID-19 since it worked against hepatitis C which is in some ways similar. Interferon-beta worked against hepatitis C by stimulating the activity of immune cells and resulting in virus-infected cells being more susceptible to the immune response.

The findings for Interferon-beta-1a are promising, and further trials would help determine how effective it is in terms of COVID 19 treatment. See the following link for more details:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30523-3/fulltext

If I am able to arrange a second interview with the virologist, I hope to look at the following:

  • Human trials and how they are used to test certain medications.
  • What we now know about the immune response to COVID-19
  • What the science says about herd immunity (I personally feel that letting a virus run unchecked through the population is a bad idea and that genuine herd immunity achieved through vaccination) and what the stance of the scientific community is in general regarding this question
  • Why the vaccine is fine even though it’s been developed in a faster time frame than is normally the case

Stay tuned for a possible update..

*post-exposure prophylaxis is a preventative medical treatment that needs to be taken in a specific time frame in order to prevent an infection from occurring  

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