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EDITORIAL
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 151-152

COVID-19 pandemic: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?


Professor and Head, Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission21-May-2020
Date of Decision02-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance04-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication10-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kundavaram Paul Prabhakar Abhilash
Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cmi.cmi_86_20

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How to cite this article:
Abhilash KP. COVID-19 pandemic: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?. Curr Med Issues 2020;18:151-2

How to cite this URL:
Abhilash KP. COVID-19 pandemic: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?. Curr Med Issues [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 26];18:151-2. Available from: http://www.cmijournal.org/text.asp?2020/18/3/151/289428



The COVID-19 pandemic has been relentlessly battering humankind, both physically and mentally for more than 7 months now.[1] The physical loss of life and the economic devastation caused are probably calculable, but the psychological impact it is having and the scars it could leave on the entire human race are perhaps unmeasurable. The pan-global lockdown has aptly been described as “the world's largest psychological experiment,” the final result of which is likely to be of catastrophic proportions. Global travel and the tourism industry, in particular, have been pummeled directly by fear of spread of the virus, while the lockdown sent the global stock markets on a slow but steady downward spiral, resulting in an unprecedented economic collapse, the worst this century. Compounding this deadly contagion in India were locusts in the sky and cyclones from the sea.

What started off as a perplexing infection and arguably from an illegal seafood and live animal market in downtown Wuhan way back in the 2nd week of December 2019 rapidly extended its tentacles across almost every inhabited country on planet Earth. The world soon entered a prolonged “uncharted territory,” with various degrees of lockdown being implemented pan-globally. In the last 6 months, consumer spending and investment dropped significantly, causing steep declines in industrial output and employment as failing companies laid off workers. The unemployment rate in almost all countries is at an extraordinary all-time high level.

With the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS CoV-2) on a deadly rampage for more than 6 months, mortality continues to skyrocket in many countries. Over this period, the epicenter of the pandemic shifted from China to Italy to pan-Europe to the United states to Latin America, reflecting the true sense of the term 'pandemic'. For months, India watched the rest of the world suffer as the SARS CoV-2 wreaked havoc across the world. We are no longer spectators as the epicenter is certain to relocate to the Indian sub-continent in the coming months. All the highly-populated metropolitan cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai have taken a severe beating at the spikes of the SARS CoV-2. At the time of writing this article, the SARS CoV-2 claimed more than half a million lives and sickened more than 10 million. To put things in perspective, the infamous cousin pandemics of SARS-CoV in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in 2012 claimed a total of 774 and 856 lives, respectively, during their notorious reign.[2] The impact on human life and economy, COVID-19 would eventually have when it reaches the interior and remote areas of many poor and vulnerable nations and states with fragile health systems and impoverished economies, is unimaginable.

The scientific community started a race against time toward determining the best anti-viral combination through clinical trials and also toward developing an effective vaccine that could be mass produced and available to all at the earliest. The race between all scientific super-powers in this herculean task is on, but the answer to the best treatment option still eludes us. Although many drugs and some vaccines have shown early promise and a few green shoots of encouraging data have emerged, the world has not reached a stage when it can declare victory and go home. The many “potential hopes” include remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir-ritonavir, ivermectin, favipiravir, convalescent plasma, plasma exchange and the good old dexamethasone.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] Which one of these would prove to be revolutionary “magic pill,” the medical fraternity and the public alike are looking forward to with bated breath? The world still eagerly awaits the scientist or the research team to make the “eureka” claim of an effective vaccine or a cure for this invisible foe.

The pandemic is perhaps still in its infancy, and the bottom of the abyss is beyond sight. Can this microscopic creature cause more destruction to human lives than that caused by the monstrous physical and chemical firepower unleashed by the Allies and the Axis powers combined during the World War II? Can this infinitesimal organism wipe out more millions, cause more economic loss, and destroy more jobs than the great depression of the 1930s? Will our invisible adversary after its reign end up being more destructive than its only size-comparable cousin, the 1918 H1N1 Spanish flu that infected more than 500 million worldwide and claimed more than 20–50 million lives?[9],[10] Only time will tell.

The world desperately awaits the time when our diminutive nemesis reaches its nadir. When will humankind recover and bounce back to the “pre-corona” days? Since the beginning of the pandemic early this year, the phrases “good news” and COVID-19 barely coexist in the same sentence. We are not out of the long, dark COVID-19 tunnel yet by any means, but are we headed in the right direction? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? The optimist in me says “Yes.”



 
  References Top

1.
Li H, Liu SM, Yu XH, Tang SL, Tang CK. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Current status and future perspectives. Int J Antimicrob Agents 2020. pii: 105951.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Petrosillo N, Viceconte G, Ergonul O, Ippolito G, Petersen E. COVID-19, SARS and MERS: Are they closely related? Clin Microbiol Infect 2020;26:729-34.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Meo SA, Klonoff DC, Akram J. Efficacy of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2020;24:4539-47.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Choudhary R, Sharma AK, Choudhary R. Potential use of hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and azithromycin drugs in fighting COVID-19: Trends, scope and relevance. New Microbes New Infect 2020;35:100684.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Wang M, Cao R, Zhang L, Yang X, Liu J, Xu M, et al. Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitro. Cell Res 2020;30:269-71.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Ahsan W, Javed S, Bratty MA, Alhazmi HA, Najmi A. Treatment of SARS-CoV-2: How far have we reached? Drug Discov Ther 2020;14:67-72.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Rajendran K, Krishnasamy N, Rangarajan J, Rathinam J, Natarajan M, Ramachandran A. Convalescent plasma transfusion for the treatment of COVID-19: Systematic review. J Med Virol 2020. [doi: 10.1002/jmv.25961]. [Epub ahead of print].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Alexander V, Zachariah U, Goel A, Kandasamy S, Chacko B, Punitha JV, et al. Low-volume plasma exchange and low-dose steroid to treat secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis: A potential treatment for severe COVID-19? Curr Med Issues 2020;18:77-82.  Back to cited text no. 8
  [Full text]  
9.
Johnson NP, Mueller J. Updating the accounts: Global mortality of the 1918–1919 “Spanish” influenza pandemic. Bull Hist Med 2002;76:105-15.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Dewitte SN. Age patterns of mortality during the Black Death in London, A.D. 1349-1350. J Archaeol Sci 2010;37:3394-400.  Back to cited text no. 10
    




 

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