There is a lot of disinformation about Covid-19 (FAQ here) out there and it can be very disheartening to read the nonsense and conspiracy theories especially when they come from moronic world leaders.
Indeed, when the US president tweets that there is no problem and then a week later claims he knew it was a pandemic before anyone else it becomes very depressing watching this play out. His daily “fake news” tweets about what drugs might work are completely inappropriate from a pharmacological point of view. He mentioned one drug that would have no effect on a virus and then a drug combination that can actually cause heart failure and so is never used.
Additionally, some countries (the UK) are misguidedly opting for their own version of the WHO recommendations. This seems just as ludicrous especially when we were still seeing people huddled together in pubs until last Friday and teens on the street even today acting as if nothing has changed in the world.
It makes one wonder how we are ever going to get through this. I have pointed out elsewhere, with my purportedly scientific head-on, that as far as I understand it there are many significant obstacles to overcome yet. It is not yet known whether post-infection immunity for those who recover from the disease persists. Also, we have not found a way to make vaccines for other coronaviruses, so what are the chances with this one.
There is a glimmer of hope. Scientists have known about the possibility of an emergent pandemic for decades. I reviewed a book – Virus – for New Scientist back in the day (1997) that predicted the emergence of such a disease. We have seen some hints of such an outbreak that would engulf the world with SARS and MERS and others and we managed to overcome those. We have known about coronaviruses for decades and studied them in detail. We have known that some coronaviruses that infect bats could make the leap from bat to human without chicken or pig as an intermediary. One potentially lethal coronavirus was found in the Brazilian vampire bat in 2008, for instance. As such, we have been analysing them in detail and accumulating fundamental scientific knowledge.
That knowledge was never going to stop the emergence of a pandemic virus, but we can build on what we have learned in the last 20 to 30 years and ultimately find a way to overcome this disease.
Within minutes of writing this blog post, an update arrived on how the WHO is about to push fast-track megatrials of four contenders for drug combinations to beat the disease.
In the meantime, keep your distance and be vigilant of symptons.
Most of us will get through this together…apart.