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Myths and facts about Covid-19

The use of ordinary hair drier to deliver forced hot temperatures cannot kill coronaviruses.

In Summary

• There is no approved vaccine or cure for Covid-19.

• Vaccines against pneumonia and influenza do not provide protection against the novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus myths
Coronavirus myths

In the age of Covid-19, knowledge is power and ignorance is weakness, and could lead to death.

It is important at this time to inoculate the population with the correct, science-based information to prevent the pandemic of dangerous misinformation.

In these dire times, even the so-called expert opinion must be ruthlessly disputed and wringed-out for every drop of nothing but scientific or clinical facts. Living in warmer climates, being young, dark-skinned or having no pre-existing health complications such as diabetes, tuberculosis, heart disease or pneumonia does not make you less susceptible to infection and even severe illness from Covid-19.

 

There are viral videos about 5G antennas transmitting Covid-19. Moreover, the novel coronavirus is not some kind of biological warfare. One bowl of freshly-boiled garlic will prevent coronavirus infection. The use of ordinary hair drier to deliver forced hot temperatures cannot kill coronaviruses.

There is no approved vaccine or cure for Covid-19. Vaccines against pneumonia and influenza do not provide protection against the novel coronavirus. While the exact mechanism is unknown, it is believed the 100-year old tuberculosis Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine has off-target effects that can boost the immune response against the SARS-Cov-2 virus. Australia and the Netherlands have started human clinical trials to evaluate the BCG vaccines.

Drug development is progressing in earnest. A prudent approach to drug discovery is to test whether the existing antiviral drugs are effective in treating related viral infections. There is hope but not immediate therapeutic remedy to combat Covid-19.

Clinical improvement was observed in 36 of 53 patients with severe Covid-19 patients treated compassionate use remdesivir. Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral that stops the synthesis of genetic material in many viruses including the virus that causes Ebola and coronaviruses. Remdesivir is not approved for the treatment of any illness yet.

Chloroquine, a cheap and safe drug that has been used as an anti-malarial and autoimmune disease drug for more than 70 years, is potentially clinically applicable against Covid-19. Moreover, a National Health Institutes clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, a less toxic metabolite of chloroquine, in the treatment of Covid-19 has begun in the US state of Tennessee.

While we wait for a vaccine or cure, we have to anchor down on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI). These are as simple as wash your hands like your life depends on it; maintain social or physical distance by keeping at least two meters between yourself and others; avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth; if you are outdoors, use an appropriate face covering or mask, where social distancing measures are hard to maintain and; stay at home as much as you can.

The use of masks is allowing more outdoor activity. But we must be careful. Self-contamination can occur by touching and reusing a contaminated mask. Moreover, low-quality masks can cause breathing difficulties.

 

The economic pain of lockdown is real but, life is far more valuable than any material product of human enterprise, such as jobs and GDP.

Alex O. Awiti is Vice Provost at Aga Khan University. Views expressed are the writer’s