Cariño: Baguio Connections 129 – What we now know (continued)

Baguio Stories

STILL, said official confessed to having a box with UV (ultraviolet) lights for paraphernalia to get disinfected. An important note: it is UV-B and UV-C LEDs (light-emitting diodes) that were referred to in The Jerusalem Post. UV-A are the ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun that get to ground level, if you will, and are not as dangerous to humans as are UV-B and UV-C, also emitted by the sun, but do not get to ground level, being stopped by the earth’s atmosphere.

But then again, we are forever being warned of dangerous UV exposure because of the worrisome hole in the earth’s atmosphere. And the safe SPF levels in sunscreen keep rising.

As to the accuracy of a so-called gold standard in Covid-19 testing, an opinion paper by Hernandez-Huerta et al published by the Journal of Medical Virology in June of last year raises questions about calling the RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test a gold standard. The gist of the opinion: “It is crucial to evaluate diagnostic accuracy studies, analytical validity, and testing for agreement in CT, RT-PCR, and antibodies tests at the different clinical stages. For the moment, whenever possible, it is more useful in clinical practice to evaluate tests by several methods because there is no generally accepted reference standard nor is there a gold test for the diagnosis of Covid-19.” Given numerous reports of false positives and false negatives diagnosed using RT-PCR testing, we are better for knowing that it is likely a range of tests that ought to be done per case in order to more accurately diagnose Covid-19.

Therapeutic options to combat Covid-19 are perhaps not written off as much as testing, AI supplements to manage the pandemic and vaccination. However, literature exists that tackles some therapeutic options. For instance, Donald Trump’s treatment was written of in October 2020 by BBC Health and Science Correspondent James Gallegher as consisting of three therapeutic drugs: Dexamethasone, Remdesivir, and Regeneron.

Dexamethasone, Gallagher writes, is a steroid that “saves lives by calming the immune system, but it needs to be used at the right time. Give it too early and the drug could make things worse by impairing the body's ability to fight off the virus.” Obviously not a quick fix and must be physician-supervised, “not a drug you would usually give in the ‘mild’ stage of the disease.”

Regeneron is the name of a drug company that manufactures a combination of antibodies that, Gallagher further writes, “physically stick to the coronavirus so they can't get inside the body's cells and they make the virus more ‘visible’ to the rest of the immune system.” Regeneron’s approach is called monoclonal antibody therapy.

And then there’s Remdesevir – still Gallagher: “...first developed as a treatment for Ebola. It works by confusing the virus as it looks chemically similar to some of the raw materials the virus needs to replicate. This disrupts the virus's ability to make thousands of copies of itself.”

(To be concluded)


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