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The "Temporary Treatments" for COVID-19

Ever since it’s entrance into the world in December 2019, researchers, scientists and medical professionals around the globe have been working meticulously to develop a vaccine, or a “cure” to combat COVID-19. However, although there have been many developments, there is still no vaccine available to the public in Canada. Even though there is no definite cure to the virus to date, there are several steps that can currently be taken in order to prevent its spread, along with a few “temporary” treatment plans. This article will be discussing some of those steps, in addition to the current treatment plans.


The type of treatment received depends on the severity of the symptoms experienced. For example, if someone experiences mild symptoms, the majority of the time, the best thing they can do is self-isolate, and call a COVID-19 hotline. However, if the symptoms worsen, it may be best to continue to self-monitor, and consult their health care provider.


Steps for Prevention


  1. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) 

In public spaces (especially indoors), ensure that PPE such as face masks (or any face covering) are worn at all times. Other protection such as gloves and face shields ensure less transmission but aren't required.


2. Social Distancing 


In public spaces, or even when walking round outside, ensure that there is always a 6 feet (2m) distance between yourself and those around you. Try to refrain from touching your face and frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs with your hands.



Treatments


  1. Self-Care (mild symptoms/cases)

If the symptoms are mild, the best thing to do is rest, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods. It is important to isolate away from roommates or family members, and designate a bathroom just for your use, if possible.

Stay connected to the outside world from afar - make social contact with loved ones virtually. To reduce your risk of spreading and contracting the virus, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.


2. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs (mild symptoms/cases)


OTC drugs such as acetaminophen or advil, can be taken to help relieve symptoms such as headaches, and fevers. Although they can play a small part in relieving these minor symptoms, they cannot rid the body of the virus.


3. Convalescent Plasma (severe cases)


In essence, convalescent plasma is plasma from the blood of patients who have recovered from a certain virus. In this case, blood from recovered patients is given to patients suffering from COVID-19 through a transfusion.


When patients recover from COVID-19, their blood contains antibodies (a component of plasma, which is found in blood), that is produced by their bodies to help fight the coronavirus, and help them get better. These antibodies my help in fighting the illness, however it is more likely that it will reduce the severity of the disease.     


In the past century, convalescent plasma has shown promising results in treating various illnesses such as polio, SARS, measles and chickenpox. Although this form of treatment has been used for many years, there is not much information on the effectiveness of treating COVID-19. A recent study was conducted by the Expanded Access Program, led by the Mayo Clinic. The study concluded that convalescent plasma has the potential in reducing the risk of death in patients with severe cases, if given immediately after diagnosis.  


4. Corticosteroids (severe cases)


For hospitalized patients requiring mechanical ventilation, or supplemental oxygen,  Dexamethasone (6 mg IV/PO q24h), methylprednisolone (30 mg IV q24h), or prednisone (40 mg PO q24h) are strongly recommended for up to 10 days.


Dexamethasone: A type of corticosteroid medication, used to treat a number of conditions, such as asthma, severe allergies, rheumatic problems, chronic obstructive lung disease, and many more.


Methylprednisolone: A type of corticosteroid medication used to subdue the immune system, and reduce inflammation.


Prednisone: A type of glucocorticoid medication used to subdue the immune system and reduce inflammation in conditions such as asthma, COPD, and rheumatic diseases.



COVID-19 comes in various forms, from asymptomatic to severe reactions. We still don't know that much about the virus itself and how different people react to differing treatments. The majority of those infected recover through self-care, but those with severe symptoms often require ventilation, oxygen and corticosteroids. However, with social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE), we can use the methods of prevention to limit our exposure to this pandemic.


Sources :


Dexamethasone Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing. (n.d.). Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1027-5021/dexamethasone-oral/dexamethasone-oral/details


Iftikhar, N. (2020, June 04). Coronavirus (COVID-19) Prevention. Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/coronavirus-prevention

Methylprednisolone: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (n.d.). Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682795.html


Prednisone (Oral Route) Side Effects. (2020, July 01). Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/prednisone-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20075269?p=1


Publishing, H. (n.d.). Treatments for COVID-19. Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/treatments-for-covid-19

Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19). (n.d.). Retrieved August 22, 2020, from https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses


Treatments. (n.d.). Retrieved August 22, 2020, from http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources/covid-19-care/clinical-care/treatments


Article Contributors : Risheena Banerji, Edie Whittington