COVID-19 disease has emerged as a pandemic since its outbreak in December 2019 at Wuhan in China, worldwide. Still, this highly infectious disease is affecting the world in the same strength as it used to be in its initial days of the outbreak. This is all because no specific medication or treatment measure is discovered even by the apex medical team in the world.
However, with the recent discovery of a medication called Remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment a sign of hope has emerged with the expectation of the effective and quickest possible response especially for the people who are severely ill with this infectious disease.
In most of the cases, people diagnosed with COVID-19 disease develop mild to moderate level symptoms or sickness that gets cured without any special medical attention or hospitalization. However, in cases of severe symptoms like breathing shortness, chest pain, etc it can prove life-threatening if necessary medical treatment is not provided on time which requires immediate hospitalization.
The new coronavirus which has caused coronavirus disease more popular as COVID-19 is one of those viruses that can easily transmit from the infected person’s droplets through their sneeze, cough, and respiration, or exhalation to a healthy person who comes in their close contact without wearing protective gears like a face mask, etc.
However, these droplets can’t survive in the air due to its heavy strength and falls down immediately on the surrounding floor or any other surface. That means the risk of transmission exists high through a contaminated surface if touched without protection.
In this current era pandemic, only awareness and incorporation of prevention measures can save the health and life of people of all COVID-19 disease affected countries.
In this article, we will understand what you can expect from the currently discovered treatment measure to cope up with this pandemic that can increase the survival rate and recovery speed of people severely affected with novel coronavirus infection.
The symptoms of COVID-19 infection differ from person to person. For the majority of new coronavirus infected cases, the symptoms usually remain mild to moderate that recover at home only without specific medical treatment. However, in severe cases, it requires immediate hospitalization until the patients fully recover from this condition. Overall its symptoms can be segregated under the following heads-
Most Common Symptoms of Coronavirus:
- Dry Coughing
Less Common Symptoms of Coronavirus:
- Pain and aches
- Sore throat
- Rashes on skin
or fingers or toes discoloration
- Loss of smell or taste
Severe Symptoms of Coronavirus:
- Chest pain or pressure
- Difficulty in breathing or breathing shortness
- Loss of body movement
- Loss of speech
People who develop mild to moderate level symptoms should stay at home at least for 14 days and follow the necessary steps to avoid the spreading risk of this virus to other people. In case of serious symptoms, people should seek immediate medical attention.
Always call your doctors first before visiting the hospital. On average it takes 5 to 6 days to its symptoms flare up after the contraction of new coronavirus. However, it can even take approx. 14 days' time for coronavirus infection symptoms to come on the surface.
If you are detected positive with the new coronavirus disease then without making further delay you should immediately contact a doctor. In the cases of mild to moderate level symptoms, your doctor will suggest you stay at home and maintain precaution to avoid its spreading risk to others.
In such cases, the symptoms usually disappear on its own with minimum 14 days quarantine at home. During your stay at home, you should take care of the following things to cure your existing symptoms-
- Take enough rest as it will help in coping up with your symptoms and speed up your recovery rate.
- Don’t go outside even for your official work, school, or any other public place.
- Drink plenty amount of water to cope up with the dehydration problem which is very common during the sickness state that makes your symptoms worst.
- You can take an over-the-counter medication such as Acetaminophen to manage your fever after consulting with your doctor.
- Monitor your symptoms precisely to evaluate whether these are improving with time or not. In case your symptoms worsen with time then contact your doctor immediately. Don’t visit doctor’s office without prior notice as your doctor needs to maintain extra precaution for maintaining the safety of medical staff during your visit. Also, your doctor may suggest you stay at home and guide further over call only.
In the cases of severe symptoms of new coronavirus, disease hospitalization is required to manage serious symptoms like breathing shortness, chest pain, blue tint to your face or lips, confusion, etc. In case of these type of severe symptoms, the medical care unit facilitate following treatment techniques to control your symptoms during your hospital stay-
- To manage the breathing shortness problem you may get an extra level of oxygen via two small tubes that put inside your nostrils. For more serious cases you may be put on a ventilator in which a machine will breathe for you.
- In serious cases to manage the dehydration problem in the patient’s body fluid is given through a pipe or IV that puts into the patient’s arm.
- If your doctor founds that you have the risk of blood clotting which remains high in the cases of the patient who are already a patient of heart disease, then you may be given medication for blood thinning to prevent the clots generation risk.
- If a patient is already on certain medication like Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), etc for other health conditions then they will be asked to continue with them along with other medical care at hospitals so that your other health conditions wouldn’t get worse over time causing this coronavirus infection life-threatening for them.
Several clinical trials are under an ongoing process to explore more treatment procedures and medication that can fight and control the severe cases of COVID-19 disease. In this series of treatments exploration on 1st May 2020, Remdesivir has gained popularity for the Emergency Use Authorization or EUA from the FDA.
The preliminary data report says that this particular medication stimulates the recovery rate and probability of survival of the severe cases COVID-19 disease infected patients during their hospital stay.
What is Remdesivir?
Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication which is developed by the Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company. It is an intravenous medication that means it is injected into the patient’s body through injection. It is also known as GS-5734 which is the first approved drug by the US Food and Drug Administration department on May 1, 2020.
FDA has approved this antiviral agent to be used in the emergency cases of COVID-19 including confirmed and suspected hospitalized patients. It is approved based on an initial clinical trial that included more than 1000 hospitalized patients who were severely ill with novel coronavirus disease.
The study report showed that patients who were given this intravenous medication their recovery speed was much higher than others who were not given this particular medication dosses. In fact, the group of patients who received this antiviral medication manages to get discharged from the hospital just within 11 days. On the other hand, those who were on the placebo test got discharged after 15 days of their hospital stay.
It can be administered for both adults as well as children who are developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 disease based on the EUA by the FDA.
However, on August 28, 2020, the EUA for Remdesivir extended for its usage in the cases of the moderate level disease. This newly expanded authorization gives liberty to use this antiviral medication for all hospitalized patients irrespective of their oxygen status. In this regard, a new NDA has been submitted to the FDA in the month of August 2020.
Remdesivir is not a new medication. It has been used in past for the treatment of Ebola virus infections but has shown a limited range of benefits. However, the usage of this antiviral medication has shown a positive result in inhibiting the replication of other coronavirus associated diseases that increases the tissue morbidity rate too high.
The Remdesivir antiviral medication has worked effectively in the treatment of other human coronaviruses diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus or MERS-CoV in 2012 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus or SARS-CoV in the year 2003.
However, before May 1, 2020, this mediation was never been approved by the FDA for the treatment of any condition. This is the reason why before this date Remdesivir was not available except for the clinical trial setting.
But after getting the FDA authorization it is liberated to be used across the nations for the treatment of patients diagnosed with severe symptoms of COVID-19 disease apart from the patients included in clinical trials. Hence, it has emerged as a big ray of hope for the quick recovery of the patients struggling hard with severe symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease.
How Remdesivir is Used For COVID-19 Patients?
The Remdesivir antiviral medication is given intravenously either through a needle or a tube inserted into the patient’s nerve. The study trial has done by the NIH on severe COVID-19 hospitalized patients for 10 days and the effectiveness of this particular medication has been recognized. So after this clinical trial, Remdesivir has become the first FDA authorized medication for new coronavirus infected patients with the severe symptoms of this disease.
Depending upon the severity of a patient’s symptoms the Remdesivir can be injected for at least 5 or 10 days. The treatment duration also varies based on the patients’ body responses towards this medication.
Remdesivir comes either in solution form or in powder form which requires to be mixed with liquid so that it can be injected into the patient’s vein. After the hospitalization of a patient, this medication can be given by a doctor or nurse minimum after 30 to 120 minutes of their hospital stay.
So far this medication has given promising results on all the patients whom it is applied ensuring their speedy recovery with comparison to the patients who were on placebo or other general treatment for controlling the severe cases of new coronavirus infection.
However, just like any other medication, even the usage of Remdesivir contain the risk of developing side effect even serious reaction that may occur during or after the infusion of this medication. This is the reason why the patients who get treated with this newly approved mediation for the severe cases of COVID-19 remains under close and consistent monitoring of a doctor or nurse to avoid any health risk.
The side effects that may occur during or after the infusion of Remdesivir include nausea, chills, shivering, sweating, vomiting, dizziness while standing, abnormal heartbeat, shortness of breath, rashes, swelling in the throat, lips, tongue, face, and eyes.
Inform your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms during or after the infusion of Remdesivir medication so that they can take necessary action on time either by slowing down the infusion rate or stop them completely based on your specific condition.
How Remdesivir is Effective for COVID-19 Patients
When Remdesivir is injected in the veins of a COVID-19 patient it starts showing its effect from then and there only by obstructing the production of certain enzymes by this virus which is vital for the replication of the virus itself.
This particular effect of the Remdesivir ensures that the new coronavirus would no longer spread further in the patient’s body which otherwise can cause a major impact on the condition of the said hospitalized patient.
A study report says that people who were treated with this antiviral medication, their duration of hospitalization stay was much lesser than other patients who were not treated with this newly authorized EUA medication from the FDA. Most importantly the usage of this medication on severely ill COVID-19 patients has managed to reduce the mortality or death rate in these patients
No doubt after the EUA approval of Remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment from the FDA both the medical teams worldwide as well as severely ill COVID-19 patients have taken a breath of relief. However, this medication is only for the emergency cases of novel coronavirus patients who are hospitalized.
As of date, only limited clinical trials have been done to prove the efficiency of this particular medication for new coronavirus patients. So, more researches are needed to be conducted in the future to evaluate the working procedure and effectiveness of this medication to fight against the new coronavirus infection.