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Hope rises on COVID-19 cure soon



*US firm announces lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19

*US doctor discloses how he used anti-malaria drugs to cure 500 patients\

*Researchers ponder claims of Vitan C, plasma tablets efficacy

 THERE are growing hints that the world will soon conquer the COVID-19 scourge.

 A United States of American firm has disclosed a breakthrough in research for cure of COVID-19. The company plans to supply one billion vaccines worldwide for emergency needs against the ravaging pandemic.

In a landmark new partnership with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; the Johnson & Johnson Company has announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it has been working on since January 2020.

The development marks a significant expansion of the existing partnership between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

The firm described the development as one that has necessitated a rapid scaling up of the company’s manufacturing capacity with the goal of providing global supply of more than one billion doses of the vaccine.

 The company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020, and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorisation in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.

Through a landmark new partnership, BARDA, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Johnson & Johnson together have committed more than $1 billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing.

Johnson & Johnson will use its validated vaccine platform and is allocating resources, including personnel and infrastructure globally, as needed, to focus on these efforts.

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Separately, BARDA and the Company have provided additional funding that will enable expansion of their ongoing work to identify potential antiviral treatments against the novel coronavirus.

Johnson & Johnson is also expanding the company’s global manufacturing capacity, including through the establishment of new U.S. vaccine manufacturing capabilities and scaling up capacity in other countries.

The additional capacity will assist in the rapid production of a vaccine and will enable the supply of more than one billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine globally.

The Company plans to begin production at risk imminently and is committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.

Similarly, a United States based  medical doctor, Vladimir Zelenko, said he treated about 500 Coronavirus patients with anti-malaria drugs with no death recorded.

Zelenko, who has been in the news following his claims on efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in treating the infection, also said there are no side effects to the treated patients. 

Speaking in an interview with former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, the doctor said he combined hydroxychloroquine in a regimen with two other drugs after learning about the therapy being used in South Korea and France.

According to him, has been treating coronavirus patients for over a week in Kiryas Joel, a New York village, and that none of those he has so far managed has died.

“I’ve had zero patients died, zero patients intubated and three currently admitted with pneumonia.  I’ve treated 450 to 500 patients, one third of which were from outside (the village),” he said

On how he administers his treatment, Zelenko said: “I blended the two treatments from South Korea and France and made a three drug regimen which are hydroxychloroquine, which is the common denominator by both treatments, then I used zinc, and azithromycin.

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“The virus gets inside the cell and begins to hijack the cell industrial machinery. It is well known that zinc interrupts that. So, the concept is that it interferes in the replication of the virus. But the problem with zinc is that it does not get inside the cell very easily, only very small percent gets in.

What is interesting is that hydroxychloroquine is a ionic core; so it is the key that opens the canal and facilitates the work of the zinc.

When you have a severe viral infection, it is well known that you can get a secondary infection, so I believe the zithromax is there as a precaution and if there begins a bacteria process, it kills it before it causes a bigger problem.”

It will be recalled that US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of patients with Coronavirus only last Monday.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) also directed the manufacturing of chloroquine, a similar anti-malaria drug, for emergency stock for “possible clinical treatment of Coronavirus.”

Meanwhile as researchers around the globe race to find effective treatments for Coronavirus, medical experts have cautioned against the use of some certain vitamins to cure COVID-19 that is fast spreading rapidly on social media.

 One such claim that has gained traction online in recent days is that high doses of vitamin C could cure coronavirus infections.

The claim has been shared and reposted on Facebook by users anxious for remedies and preventative measures against the rapidly spreading viral outbreak.  But, there is no evidence or scientific research supporting the claim that taking high doses of vitamin C could help prevent or cure COVID-19.

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“There is some reason to hypothesize that some vitamins and supplements could reduce the risk and severity of COVID-19 because of benefits seen for other viral or respiratory disease,” Dr. Walter Willett, a professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health,” said.

Willett also advised that avoiding smoking, eating healthy foods, exercising and maintaining low stress levels are all important lifestyle practices in general and the only surefire ways of building up one’s immune system during a pandemic crisis.

“All this said, it is critical to emphasize that the focus of preventing COVID-19 should be social distancing, washing hands, and not touching our faces,” Willett continued.

Vitamin C has been shown to help reduce the severity of cold and flu illnesses in some trials, though this finding is widely debated by experts. The effect of taking the vitamin is also significantly less than many might expect.

“The only impact that vitamins and supplements may have in any cold or flu is to lessen the severity,” Dr. Caroline Apovian, a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine. 

“In general, eating well and sleeping well will help your immune system; stress and anxiety and lack of sleep depresses the immune system,” she continued.

 “Although vitamin C does have some small effect on the common cold, it’s unlikely that taking large amounts of vitamin C supplements will cure a COVID-19 infection — or have a large effect at all,” stated Peter McCaffery, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Aberdeen.

Furthermore, some experts argue that advising people to take such high doses of vitamins and supplements can be harmful, as even essential nutrients like vitamin C can produce side effects if ingested in extremely high doses.

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