Remdesivir For COVID-19, A Strange Case Illustrates Potential Fix:
So one of the biggest problems with the Coronavirus pandemic is the lack of work done ahead of time.
As Dr. Michael Osterholm warned us earlier in the year, a vaccine could have been started 16+ years ago during the SARS outbreak.
Governments continued to ignore the threat even when the next big version of COVID came along in MERS.
Well a strange case just gave us a huge data point for one of the few treatments we have that’s a left-over from a previous virus problem…
The Short Answer:
- Experts have noted that we were unprepared for coronavirus.
- SARS & MERS should have been early warnings.
- We had 16+ years to develop some kind of vaccine or fix.
- What do you do once you have the disease? You try to fix it.
- Luckily, we have a fix leftover from previous diseases, called Remdesivir.
- Trial results have been mixed because of multiple factors.
- Doctors in the UK found a strange case of a man with virtually no immune-system.
- He caught COVID, and so was the perfect test-bed.
- They fixed his symptoms very quickly.
- Shortly after a 10-day treatment, he was discharged.
- He then caught COVID again.
- He was given a second treatment that worked even faster than the first.
- In 3 days, he was both free of symptoms and any traces of the virus.
- Many factors may complicate treatment on normal people, but with innovation & experimentation, they can be addressed.
- This odd man’s case is a perfect example of how well Remdesivir works against coronavirus.
Read on to find out the details…
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So we don’t normally think about things in terms of Vaccine vs. Treatment.
But for COVID, we probably should.
Front-line healthcare workers have been doing their damndest to help people survive since early 2020,
And have come up with several clever hacks like “proning” and Vitamins to help people get through it,
And thus have reduced the death-rate drastically.
But outside some very isolated cases, we didn’t really have a “Fix” outside of their innovations.
And just about the only one we did have, aside from Hydroxychloroquine, which has since been debunked,
Was something called Remdesivir.
This was a treatment invented by Pfizer that was originally targeted at somehow even-scarier diseases like Hepatitis C and God-help-us-all Ebola.
And it’s main party-trick was to reduce viral activity in the human body.
-Something that nothing else, except the human immune system, has been able to do yet.
Because Antibiotics are actually fixes for other microbes & bacteria problems, -But NOT viruses.
So Remdesivir is some pretty amazing stuff.
And to find out just how amazing, enter the man with the crazy immune-system.
So our pandemic hero, is an unnamed 31 year-old man with a strange condition called XLA.
That quirk changes the body’s ability to create antibodies and fight infections.
-Almost to the point of not having any at all.
So what happens to someone like this when they get infected with COVID-19?
Thank your lucky stars you know some researchers with Remdesivir, that’s what!
So at-first the subject came in with multiple symptoms.
He had persistent vomiting, fever, nausea, coughing, and tested positive for COVID.
The team then gave him Hydroxycholoroquine and antibiotics, which did nothing.
His symptoms kept-up and he was brought into the hospital and put on oxygen after about 30 days.
But in a lucky happenstance, he didn’t have serious breathing problems or extreme inflammation that spread,
Because of his odd lack of a fully-featured immune-system.
So in this case, he actually had fewer problems from the “Histamine Storm” that normal victims of COVID go through.
The only hiccup? He couldn’t shake the problems.
And now the magic happens.
They put our mystery man on a 10 day course of Remdesivir.
And BOOM, within 1.5 days, most of his symptoms go away and he doesn’t need the supplemental oxygen anymore.
The main markers of Inflammation also went down,
And scans of his chest showed his lung condition was greatly improving.
In virtually no time, for a man with basically no immune system!
So the team then let him go shortly thereafter.
Which brings us to the next awesome chapter in this unusual test.
Because our subject had no immune system, and built up none of the antibodies that would have been there for a normal person,
Thankfully for at least 6 or more months as we found out earlier,
He went out and promptly came down with COVID again, and was readmitted back to the hospital just about 2 weeks later.
So the study team repeated the earlier treatment fix, and added some blood-plasma boosters to what they gave him also.
And just like before, he got better Very quickly, his symptoms all dropped and he was released from the hospital again.
But this time the treatment worked Even Faster!
Because Remdesivir appeared to completely clear the virus from his body in just about 3 days.
And so far, it has not come back.
Now you might be able to make a few criticisms of this particular case.
1) It’s the immune-system’s overreaction to COVID-19 that really hurts people.
1a) So this person’s weird genetics actually protected them from most of the damage.
And that would be fair-enough.
But if doctors can come up with new ways to help mitigate those factors, perhaps with temporary immunosuppressive drugs,
They might be able to improve the treatment for regular people, too.
Either way, this strange case, if not a perfect platform, is a nearly-perfect one to show just how powerful Remdesivir can be to help people who already have become infected with coronavirus.
And it may actually be possible to “Fix” the problem even after it occurs; especially if medical science can keep innovating at this year’s blistering pace!
• Source: Cambridge U.
• More Coverage: CDC – Treatments
• Source Study: Nature Comm – Treatment of COVID-19 with remdesivir in the absence of humoral immunity: a case report