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How far are we from COVID – 19 Drugs And Vaccine ? – Burning Issues – Free PDF download

World’s Fastest Supercomputer identifies chemicals with potential to stop COVID – 19

  • Summit, IBM’s supercomputer equipped with the “brain of AI,” ran thousands of simulations (imitation of the operation of a process) to analyze which drug compounds might effectively stop the virus from infecting host cells.
  • The supercomputer identified 77 of them.
  • It’s a promising step toward creating the most effective vaccine. “It took us a day or two whereas it would have taken months on a normal computer”.

  • SUMMIT was used to analyze a database of over 8,000 compounds that are known from existing drugs, chemicals, herbal medicines, and natural products.
  • Its job was to find out compounds that appear to be capable of binding to the SARS-CoV-2 protein spikes, thereby blocking the virus.
  • The drugs found will require extensive testing and clinical trials before it can be used as a vaccine.
  • The compound, shown in gray, was calculated to bind to the CoV-2 spike protein, shown in cyan, to prevent it from docking to the human cell receptor, shown in purple

Previous achievements by Summit

  • Summit has identified patterns in cellular systems that precede Alzheimr’s, analyzed genes that contribute to traits like opioid addiction and predicted extreme weather based on climate simulations.

Japanies Flu Drugs ‘ Clearly Effective In Treating  Coronavirus, Say’s China

  • Medical authorities in China have said a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in coronavirus patients.
  • Favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients.
  • In 2016, the Japanese government supplied favipiravir as an emergency aid to counter the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea.

The Ebola drug: Remdesivir

  • Remdesivir was originally developed as an Ebola treatment, but the drug has emerged as a frontrunner among potential antiviral drugs to combat Covid-19.
  •  The drug works against SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), two other coronaviruses that are more lethal but less transmissible.

The anti-malaria drug: chloroquine

  • Chloroquine is a cheap, widely available drug that has been routinely used since 1945 against malaria and other conditions.
  • Doctors said 25% of patients who received the drug tested positive for the virus after six days, compared with 90% of those who did not receive it.
  • WHO is also using it in clinical trials for COVID-19.
  • Combination of medications lopinavir and ritonavir which are second-line HIV drugs.
  • Both were discharged after testing negative twice for the virus, as per the established protocol.
  • After positive outcome in Jaipur, 3 patients in Mumbai put on anti-HIV drugs. The Italian tourist who died in Jaipur was a 70- year-old chain smoker; he had tested negative for the coronavirus twice.

The government has revised its clinical management guidelines for COVID-19

  • Lopinavir/ Ritonavir should ONLY be used with proper informed expressed consent on a case to case basis for severe cases.

How soon can a drug or a vaccine be expected?

  • WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said: “if everything goes really well, we would probably have a vaccine in the next 12-18 months but even after that there would be the question of availability of sufficient doses. We are probably looking at an 18-24 month window for that.


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