It was when Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming noticed an odd phenomenon: mould that had formed accidentally in one of his petri dishes was stopping the growth of bacteria. Partly because of the unique, parasitical qualities of the virus, making drugs to treat infections ranging from the common cold to flu and Ebola has proven a much more daunting task, with a few major successes and many failures. But even the most promising treatment so far, Remdesivir, may only modestly speed up recovery, trial results released this week suggested. It was invented to treat Ebola and failed at that task. Hopes for ending the pandemic are instead being pinned largely on vaccines, substances that prevent infection rather than treating it. But as the scientific community receives funding to pivot massively toward the novel coronavirus, the anti-viral field in general could take a giant leap forward, a rare silver lining to the pandemic cloud, experts say.
There has been a long history of the battle between viral diseases and the mankind. The arms at our disposal against the virus invasion are continuously expanding its inventory. Most of them fall into the category of vaccines and antiviral and each of the two kinds of viral diseases intervention agents has its own advantages and limitations. A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and “remember” it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it later encounters. There are several types of vaccines in use. These represent different strategies used to try to reduce risk of illness, while retaining the ability to induce a beneficial immune response. Some vaccines contain killed, but previously virulent, micro-organisms that have been destroyed with chemicals, heat, radioactivity or antibiotics.
Influenza is not a vector-borne disease, meaning it is not transmitted to humans indirectly via an insect, an arthropod, or another animal. Malaria and yellow fever are transmitted by mosquitoes. Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks. The male gamete, or sex cell, which carries the hereditary material of the male parent and unites with the female egg cell during sexual reproduction. Search the National Academies Press website by selecting one of these related terms. The National Academies. Used properly, antibiotics can save lives.