A few days after the coronavirus disease 2019 (CoViD-19) outbreak turned out to be a pandemic, all of a sudden it became necessary to tackle the whole issue globally.
So far, according to the WHO data, there are more than 132,000 confirmed cases in 123 countries all over the world.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes CoViD-19, appears to be highly transmissible – most commonly through invisible respiratory droplets – as several countries are experiencing community spread. Although statistics have shown so far that most of the confirmed cases have fairly mild symptoms and only a small percentage present respiratory failure, some population segments, such as the sick and elderly, are exposed to a higher risk.
No antiviral or vaccine is currently available for the CoViD-19, even though many pharmaceutical companies around the world are working hard to develop them. Even if a vaccine or antiviral was to be discovered soon, it would take at least a year or two before it is proven effective or get approved by responsible bodies.
Symptomatic treatment is the major treatment currently underway. Thus, the best way to fight CoViD-19 is – besides keeping out from becoming infected – to get an early diagnosis.
CURRENT SITUATION IN EUROPE
In EU countries with significant CoViD-19 outbreaks, the standard protocol is that people experiencing possible symptoms of CoViD-19 infection are to remain at home and contact their family doctor. In Italy and the Netherlands patients with CoViD-19 symptoms are specifically not expected to present themselves at hospitals or other care centers.
Sample collection for CoViD-19 diagnosis is performed at home or at specific diagnostic locations.
As a standard practice, both CoViD-19 patients and suspected cases are sent back home where they are supposed to remain in quarantine and be treated at home, unless or until their conditions would require hospital admission. This practice is born out of necessity because most CoViD-19 patients will recover without any major difficulties and hospital admission would as such be a waste of capacity and resources.
At this moment it is only possible to identify potential high-risk patients based on age and underlying conditions. Such patients can subsequently be monitored more closely and receive extra care when needed. However, disease outcome is not fully predictable based on simple criteria of age and underlying conditions. Even younger patients may in some cases develop serious complications and currently no diagnostic tools are available to assist in the identification of such higher risk patients.
High risk patients could benefit considerably from early diagnosis and extra care during the early stages of infection, preventing an escalation of the disease that might necessitate the treatment in Intensive Care units.
Due to the increasing number of infected subjects requiring Intensive Care, some countries are setting up contingency plans that contain exclusion criteria for patients with unfavourable disease outcome.
This illustrates the necessity to develop improved diagnostic methods capable of identifying high risk patients in an early stage. First Health Pharmaceuticals has prepared a presentation that will discuss the possibility of a diagnostic method based upon the expression of specific CoViD-19 viral host factors.