COVID-19: how is it currently being seen?

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bruna Larissa da Silva Santos, a fourth-year medical student at Centro Universitário CESMAC, Brazil. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Over the course of two years, the world experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, a viral disease that took people from all countries and health professionals by surprise. During all this period (beginning of the covid until today), much is still being learned and discovered about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is transmitted through droplets expelled through the mouth or nose of an individual infected with the virus (the particles liquids are expelled through coughing, sneezing, talking and/or breathing).

It was only at the end of 2019 that we began to hear about the coronavirus, a new strain of the virus that had not been identified before in humans. Because it was something unknown, the treatment and management were a “discovery” for all health professionals who learned, day after day, how to deal with this very severe disease that was plaguing the entire world. Thus, many were the drugs that were used to treat the disease, which, in several cases, were used to treat worms, bacteria and other parasites. Because they are non-viral drugs, many still wonder how they “worked” for the coronavirus if, in a way, they did not have this mechanism of action (it is a curiosity that needs a lot of research and scientific confirmation). 

However, currently, two years after the start of the pandemic and the advent of mass vaccination, treatment is still challenging due to the high infectivity of the virus and the number of asymptomatic cases. Still, more than 400 clinical trials were registered on the International and Chinese Clinical Trials Registration Platform to assess the risk and benefit of the researched drug for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 and, after several tests, Remdesivir (an antiviral agent of broad spectrum) has been found to be highly effective in treating severe SARS-CoV-2 and Remdesivir in combination with chloroquine has also been found to be beneficial for treating SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, for mild cases of covid, rest and symptomatic treatment of symptoms is recommended.

Finally, after a long time of research and testing, there are some vaccines available that are highly effective against the disease, always emphasizing that the vaccine, like any other, does not prevent the individual from becoming infected with the virus, but to develop the most serious forms of the disease. Infected patients can develop antibodies against the virus for up to 14 days after the onset of symptoms, but it remains to be seen whether all patients who have been infected develop a protective immune disorder (as conferred through vaccination) and how long this protective effect will last.

About the author

Bruna Larissa da Silva Santos is a fourth-year medical student at Centro Universitário CESMAC, Brazil. She serves as Director of the SCOME Medical Education axis at IFMSA. She is passionate about medicine and the opportunities that graduation offers to develop medical skills, always looking for new learning and innovations for her curriculum and, as a consequence, for her training as a professional. She is currently enchanted by pediatrics, but keeps an open mind for other areas that may win her heart!

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