Covid-19 treatment: Scientists working on body samples of people who survived Coronavirus

FE Online

Health professionals and scientists are working round the clock to decode various facets of Coronavirus which has so far proved utterly unpredictive and refuses to get bracketed into any adage of medical sciences. On one hand, laboratories are trying to produce a vaccine in record time, and on the other, medical professionals are falling back upon the existing drugs which could be administered to the infected patients. Another area which has huge potential to unravel the mysterious virus is research on the body samples of people who have recovered successfully from the virus. As is the case with every disease, people who have suffered from a disease once, develop natural immunity against the disease. Huge research work is going on to ascertain whether people who came into the grip of the virus have developed immunity or not, NYT reported.

The research assumes significance as those who have recovered and become immune to the virus may be deployed in the care of most critical patients and also give a helping hand in community service. Anti-bodies generated in people who have survived the disease may also be used to treat the patients of the Coronavirus. The U.S Food and Drug administration recently approved the use of plasma from recovered patients to treat the critical patients, NYT reported. New York also became the first state to test the serum of the recovered patients in its fight against Coronavirus.

It is at the trial stage for people who are critical and the state is working with some of the best health care experts to get an early breakthrough in this research, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo told NYT. However, experts caution against making any early conclusion as the process and potency of anti-bodies generated vary from person to person and disease to disease. Anti-bodies generated by Polio or measles can last upto a lifetime whereas those generated from the family of Coronaviruses may only last upto 2-3 years.

Most people who got infected in SARS epidemic had immunity that lasted upto 8-10 years, Vineet D Menachery, virologist at the Uniersity of Texas told NYT. He further said that health experts can safely predict that the immunity in case of Covid-19 may last only upto 1-2 years. However experts agree that the second round of Covid-19 infections will be milder than its first bout due to the development of immunity in huge parts of the population. Presently such anti-body tests in recovered patients are going on in countries like China and Singapore. Reseachers in other countries are also waiting for the approval from regulatory bodies before embarking on the research.