The Wuhanvirus (aka Covid-19, Coronavirus) remains a major threat to the world, with hundreds of thousands already declared dead from the virus. Everyday exposes humanity to new waves of cases, a disturbing reminder that the virus which started in the Wuhan city of China, is not showing signs of disappearing.
Scientists around the world have been on a race to discover the vaccine that can cure the virus, while also developing vaccines that can ameliorate its effect.
Alexander Ginzburg, a leading microbiologist and director of the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, believes that a patient’s condition can only be alleviated by the antibodies produced by the body’s immune system to fight a specific viral infection.
“The rest is, mildly speaking, flogging the dead horse,” the researcher added.
The 68-year-old expert says he was referring to monoclonal antibodies (virus-repelling immunoglobulins synthesised in a lab from cloned immune cells).
Another method used to treat coronavirus patients is the transfusion of convalescent plasma, the liquid part of blood collected from recovered patients who already have antibodies. Convalescent plasma therapy is still in clinical trials, although early data shows it helps reduce mortality from COVID-19.
A vaccine, according to Ginsburg, is prophylactic while antibodies are therapeutic (they fight a disease that has already been detected).
“This means that if a person has gotten sick, they better have antibodies administered to block the virus instead of eating walnuts or peanuts,” Ginzburg said, adding that antibodies are currently administered intravenously, using a drip.
Sputnik News reports that his comments came in the wake of reports that coronavirus patients can ease their symptoms with greater concentrations of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2, in their blood.
The receptor is effectively a protein that provides the entry point for the coronavirus to invade human cells and replicate. It exists naturally in various plant parts and products, such as grapes, red wine, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, cocoa, and peanut skins.
The state-run Gamaleya Institute has developed, together with the Defence Ministry, Russia’s first vaccine against the coronavirus. The vaccine, which is in the final phase of clinical trials, is scheduled to be registered as soon as next Wednesday.
Russia’s technology is a vector vaccine based on the DNA of a SARS-CoV-2 type adenovirus, a common cold virus. Researchers embedded genetic material from the coronavirus into the harmless carrier virus to deliver small parts of the pathogen into human body and stimulate an immune response, Sputnik News reports.
Other trials of the vaccine are being developed by institutions like the Oxford University and in Chinese and American laboratories. Random testing has been carried out with encouraging outcomes.
However, no one knows how effective any of these vaccines will be.
Most experts think a foolproof vaccine is likely to become widely available by mid-2021, about 12-18 months after the new virus, known officially as Sars-CoV-2, first emerged.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: Sputnik News/Bloomberg