Scientists are considering using the discontinued malaria drug Chloroquine, HIV drug Lopinavir and the Ebola drug Remdesivir among the treatments for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu, a researcher and Executive Director of the Uganda Virus Research Center told journalists that while the effectiveness of these drugs is being analyzed, the world is still far from getting a treatment or a vaccine for a disease that started in China at the end of last year but has turned into a global pandemic.
He said it’s unlikely that some of the drugs studied especially Lopinavir will work considering the nature of the virus that Coronavirus is.
While these ongoing treatment studies are happening where there are active cases, he said at the UVRI, they have plans of conducting tests to establish how exactly the viral disease affects people living with HIV and how they can be helped.
He says without this evidence currently, they know that
because of reduced immunity, people living with HIV and are not adhering to
treatment will get a serious form of COVID – 19.
On her part, Epidemiologist Dr. Monica Musenero who doubles as the senior Presidential Advisor on epidemics said that the earliest treatment or a vaccine can be available will be next year. She noted that this shouldn’t worry the population since up to 80% of people who get infected with the virus don’t need treatment as it’s only 20% that get severe complications and pneumonia requiring interventions of intensive care services.
Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told Uganda Radio Network that even as there is an overflow of information on COVID-19 and some sections are talking about treatment, the population should beware of unscrupulous people who will come with wrong messages. She said that the sole treatment as recommended by the World Health Organisation currently is supportive treatment and taking precautionary measures to guard against further spread.
By Thursday morning, the number of people infected by COVID-19 had risen to 191,127 confirmed globally and some 7807 deaths.