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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

How can we treat COVID-19?

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Brought to you by The Echo and Cosmos Magazine


As SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory disease; it predominantly attacks lung tissue, specifically the cilia.

As Australia begins to reopen and moves away from COVID zero, we will increasingly have to rely on treating the infection rather than only preventing it.

The effect of high vaccination rates, particularly in New South Wales, is slowly becoming apparent. Daily cases are no longer growing exponentially, and hospitalisations also seem to have stabilised. Yet, the Delta variant is here to stay, and as restrictions begin to ease, the state may experience a spike in cases.

Fortunately, vaccines are not the only weapon we have against COVID-19. Over the past 20 months, medical researchers have searched for effective treatments to stop the infection from causing severe disease and death.

At the beginning, a lot of rapid but often low-quality science was produced to make sense of the pandemic, says Professor Julian Elliott, Executive Director of the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce and researcher at Cochrane Australia at Monash University.

‘We saw very quickly a number of position statements, guidelines and protocols being produced from different organisations, which unfortunately were in conflict with one another,’ he says. ‘That added to confusion and controversy and did not provide clinicians with the clarity that they needed.’

Read more: What’s in a COVID vaccine?

In March last year, Elliott helped to set up the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce in collaboration with the National Health and Medical Research Council and 32 peak national medical bodies. The goal was to develop a single set of guidelines that Australian clinicians could refer to, knowing that they were using the best possible evidence.

The process the taskforce uses to assess the evidence on COVID-19 treatments is simple, says Elliott.

It starts with a clinical question: for example, ‘Do corticosteroids work in the treatment of COVID-19?’ The taskforce then searches multiple online databases from around the world for any COVID-19 research. They pull all the evidence together and create summaries of evidence, called evidence profiles.

Seven main panels and other expert groups review these evidence profiles and develop recommendations, which are then made available to clinicians.

Current recommendations include the use of four immunosuppressants and one antiviral drug. Each of these drugs is effective and used at different stages of the infection.

Dexamethason

Dexamethason is part of a class of drugs called corticosteroids that dampens the immune response.

‘It’s a very cheap drug, and it’s been around for a very long time,’ says Elliott.

Dexamethason is generally used in rheumatic diseases – autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that cause your immune system to attack joints, muscles, bones and organs, causing ongoing pain.

The taskforce strongly recommends its use for adults, including pregnant or breastfeeding people with COVID-19 receiving oxygen, plus those on mechanical ventilation.

‘It’s really been the mainstay of treatment for people with more severe COVID-19,’ says Elliott.

The recommendation is conditional for children and adolescents because, he says, there are fewer data in those age groups.

Tocilizumab

Tocilizumab is an immunosuppressive drug used for the treatment of rheumatic diseases.  It is a humanised monoclonal antibody against the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R), a cytokine that plays an essential role in immune response and is implicated in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases.

Clinicians can consider the use of Tocilizumab in adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding people, as well as children and adolescents who require oxygen and have evidence of systemic inflammation.

Sarilumab

Sarilumab is a human monoclonal antibody that also acts against the interleukin-6 receptor, but its use is limited to adults with moderate disease who require oxygen but not intensive ventilation.

Baricitinib

Baricitinib is an immunosuppressant that functions by inhibiting the activity of two of the Janus kinase family of enzymes, which play a critical role in orchestrating the immune system.

Remdesivir

Remdesivir is the only antiviral drug approved to treat moderate-to-severe COVID-19 infection in adults, including pregnant or breastfeeding people who do not require ventilation.

REGEN-COV and Sotrovimab

Recently the taskforce has given a conditional recommendation for two more synthetic monoclonal antibodies. The first one is REGEN-COV, which can now be considered in adults with moderate to severe COVID-19 infection. The other one, Sotrovimab, promises to improve outcomes for those who are most at risk. If administered within five days of the onset of symptoms in older patients, immunocompromised people or those who have comorbidities, Sotrovimab reduces the chances of the infection progressing to a more severe stage.

A series of clinical trials are currently assessing other drugs’ safety and effectiveness against the COVID-19 infection. Compared to the beginning of the pandemic, medical researchers and clinicians now have much more knowledge and many more tools to fight the disease and help their patients.

‘The general public is not aware enough that there are effective treatments for COVID-19,’ says Elliott. ‘That includes the availability of treatment for mild disease that works to reduce the risk of someone progressing to more severe disease.’

 


This article was originally published on Cosmos Magazine and was written by Manuela Callari. Dr Manuela Callari is a Sydney-based freelance science writer who specialises in health and medical stories.

Published by The Echo in conjunction with Cosmos Magazine.


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21 COMMENTS

  1. They will chant where’s the ivermectin, zinc, vitamin c and D based on the knowledgeable Kelly/Palmer medical geniuses. Hopefully people will read this sensible article without blinkers.

    • Ahh I see Rod, because many of us had only heard of Ivermectin because of Kelly/Palmer, you somehow believe that because those characters may not be medical geniuses (or my cup-of-tea), then Ivermectin must be bad.

      It is remarkable how many like yourself, have so much distain for certain folk, that you are quick to dismiss a drug, that is very cheap, effective and safe, that may well save your life, and the life of your loved ones.

      It shows how blinded we have all become to the truth and how much power and influence is being used to discredit the Nobel Prize Winning drug and to convince you that it’s “bad” and “unsafe” (have you heard the one about the horse de-wormer? It’s a classic).

      This is not about health Rod, it is about money. Ivermectin is a massive financial threat to big pharma. Simple as that. Ask yourself, why would a safe, reliable drug be made illegal to prescribe in some states in Australia? Why?

      The “new” Merck pill that our Federal Govt has agreed to buy and which the media are now reporting on as a potential “game-changer”, has anti-viral properties, as does Ivermectin. Guess who manufactured Ivermectin? Yep Merck.

      The “new’ Merck pill is $700, and the “old” useless, dangerous, scary controversial pill is about $2. Although the sad truth is that it’s far from being controversial.

      Monash Uni are presently undertaking a study on Ivermectin which has shown that the anti-parasitic drug, readily available around the world, can kill the virus within 48 hours in cell culture. There has been plenty of peer reviewed studies and there will be plenty more “testing” before you and I can get a hold it it to treat C19.

      Meanwhile, the Govt of India didn’t wait and went against the WHO (World Health dis-Organisation) recommendation, and used Ivermectin (with a safe 30+ year record) in Uttar Pradesh state (with a vaccination rate of less than 6%) to treat covid patients which has improved the recovery rate to 98.7%. Not reported if you swim in the mainstream – but you can find it if your look.

      I truly hope that anyone else who reads this (if the Echo dares to post) notes the intent of my comment is simply information sharing as a result of caring for my fellow humans.

      We do not need to live in fear, there is alternatives to treatment of covid and each other.
      Peace and Love. Not hate and mandate.

      • You do know Merck markets and makes ivermectin and India does not use it goose. That is why people get annoyed as people keep repeating falsehoods as facts. It is good for livestock worms and human lice infections, it is not an antiviral. There are no peer reviewed studies showing this has any has had an affect on Covid-19.

        • For the benefit of anyone interested.

          44 Peer-reviewed Studies regarding the use of Ivermectin to treat Covid-19.
          474 Authors
          17,216 patients
          86% improvement when used for prevention of disease
          69% improvement for early treatment
          43% improvement for late treatment
          You access all peer-reviewed papers via ivmmeta dot com

          Not only is India using ivermectin for their people to help beat C-19, the Indian BAR Association have served legal notice on Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the WHO for deliberately suppressing the data regarding effectiveness of the drug Ivermectin. Dr Swaminathan has since deleted her offending tweet. The BAR association are also suing Google and YouTube.

          Your probably not on their radar Rod, but I’d recommend trying to work with people for the common goal of problem solving to save lives. Best way to stay out of court… and a little courtesy never hurts either.

      • Well said Steve. I cannot believe how the Australian government can BAN Ivermectin as a treatment option when it has showed so much promise in Africa, India, Bangladesh and many other countries. Why ban it? Why the huge smeer campaign against it? Oh yeah, MONEY. $700 a pill versus $1 a pill. What is also HUGELY annoying is that the professor who first championed Ivermectin as a potential treatment, he is an AUSSIE!!!! He pioneered it. Professor Thomas Borody!!!! The guy is a legend. He pioneered the use of Ivermectin (with zinc and antibiotics) ….many countires used his ‘protocol’ to great success, but Australia just hung him out to dry. Standard Aussie behaviour. Sad face.

        • Mythical trials do not count in real world, especially as can’t find any peer reviewed results for these countries. I think your professor is a legend in his own mind.

          • Mythical Trails? is that your expert opinion?
            There are a significant number of trials and real Medical Professors that are backing early treatment protocols as the path to valid path to freedom.
            At the end of the day, trials are just that, what matters is what happens in the field. How about you investigate India’s state of Uttar Pradesh, with a population of 230 million, approx 11% of double Jab’d and yet they are reporting Zero Covid? Their approach was to distribute Covid packs that look to be very similar to Australian Professor Monash university early treatment pack. Regardless of what you believe this is a fact and science is based on facts not, double blind study in a lab or marketing. I suggest we learn from this fact and protect 100% of our community rather than just some.
            Covid wave is coming to Byron and we will all be affected

          • Although at 7 Oct 21 almost 40% of the Indian population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 18% is fully vaccinated, you can also be protected from disease by catching it. According to ‘Health Feedback’s fact checkers, ‘the difference between the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and the percentage of the population with antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 (seroprevalence) indicates that India is largely undercounting SARS-CoV-2 infections.’ ‘In late July 2021, an article in the Hindustan Times reported that Uttar Pradesh was one of the states with the highest seropositivity rate (71%) – the fact that many people have antibodies against the virus means that a large proportion of the population is protected from disease to a certain extent, reducing the chances of new infections happening’. I’m not sure what was in the ‘treatment packs’ but if they contained Ivermectin any effect on patients would be coincidental as Ivermectin is not effective against COVID (https://www.bbc.com/news/health-58170809)

          • Hi Simon,
            regarding the links provided: Are the claims made by the author’s really qualified to make medical claims? ?
            Fact check: Jim Hoft, Pearson Sharp, Gateway Pundit, One America News Network
            BBC article By Rachel Schraer & Jack Goodman: “BBC reality Check”

            Alternative source:
            Can i offer detailed explanation by Dr Lenny Da Costa: DuckDuck : “Dr Lenny Da Costa – The True Story of Ivermectin in India”
            Dr Da Costa’s Bio can be found online and it includes:
            “He is certified by the International Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology USA as a FCMT.
            Dr Da Costa is a member of a number of Medical Organizations and is currently the:-
            President of Society for Regenerative Aesthetic and Anti Aging medicine India – SRAAMI
            President of the Indian Society for the Study of Metal Toxicology and Chelation Therapy
            Scientific Advisor to the World Academy of Anti Aging Medicine Asia – WAAAM
            Executive Council Member of European Council Aging Research and training – ECARE”

        • The government needs to follow medical advice and according to Prof Clancy, it is a bunch of “bureaucrats can change the way medicine is practised for whatever reason without review by, or discussion with, the medical community.”

          DuckDuck following title “A Sad and Shameful Day for Australian Medicine. By Robert Clancy, Emeritus Professor ” to find full article: Extract below”

          A Sad and Shameful Day for Australian Medicine. By Robert Clancy, Emeritus Professor of Pathology at the University of Newcastle Medical School. He is a member of the Australian Academy of Science’s COVID-19 Expert Database.
          September 10, 2021, was a black day, the day a group of faceless bureaucrats known as the “Advisory Committee for Medicines Scheduling”, through its effector arm, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), compromised medical practise and the health of their fellow Australians.
          The TGA used its regulatory muscle to prevent doctors at the COVID-19 pandemic’s coalface from prescribing ivermectin (IVM), the one therapy available that is safe, cheap and which reduces mortality in the order of 60 per cent.
          The immediate consequence of the TGA Notice means patients contracting COVID-19 are left to hear, “Sorry, no treatment for COVID-19 is legally available. Just go to hospital when you get very sick.”
          In the longer term it means that bureaucrats can change the way medicine is practised for whatever reason without review by, or discussion with, the medical community. …”

          PS Thank you Echo for finally allowing this discussion to be had, it will save lives
          peace and love

    • Science is based on truth and there are many example out in the field of what is working. EG India. Rather than guess what works, how about we learn from medical experts such as the early treatment is what Professor Peter McCullough. Prof. McCullough has stated at US senate hearing that the number of hospital deaths in US could have been reduced by 80% had a treatment model be followed or even availble.. The US senate hearing is available in the link below and Prof. explains why he is qualified to make the claims he makes.
      Professor McCullough also details a comprehensive rish matrix to Covid treatment whereas: Do you know what our treatment matrix is? crickets, i hear crickets

      lymediseaseassociation . org / about-lyme / research-articles / peter-a-mccullough-md-mph-covid-19-treatment-protocols

  2. We’ve allowed the medical profession to create a near monopoly for treating anything and this situation now clearly shows that this is not a healthy way,natural medicine has been completely sidelined and silenced and the medical gods claim all the knowledge for themselves, they behave like a big bully at a birthday party,where the bully threatens everyone else,who wants a piece of the cake! They can have a share,but the white coat arrogants want to have it all to themselves,time to stand up to these bullies, they care for the health of their purse to the detriment of our health!

  3. Another picture – of a very old man – likely from somewhere in Asia by the looks of the Dr and patient. Certainly not Australia. Not an Australian patient. Could be sick from anything. No photo credit. No detail. Just more fear mongering from the ECHO. Without any basis in reality.

  4. It is apparent that this site mindlessly or deliberately promotes the criminal allopathic medical establishment because it only reports on those “treatments” — the SAME crooked business that also offers us the highly destructive covid jabs– yet many cheap safe effective remedies of natural medicine for Covid have been censored and suppressed — read “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room –The Holocaustal Covid-19 Coronavirus Madness: A Sociological Perspective  & Historical Assessment Of The Covid “Phenomenon”” by Rolf Hefti at w w w dot  CovidTruthBeKnown  dot c o m

    “Finding individuals who can think for themselves now is like finding diamonds in a sewer.” (Unknown)

    • Obviously you don’t think for yourself if you keep reading this garbage. Old education statement” garbage in, garbage out” especially with statements like holocaustral, do you really think that, pause for a reality check Theresa.

  5. Steve and Mike ( and others) what is ironic is that, not only have all medical authorities declared Ivermectin as not useful in curing or preventing COVID, the manufacturer of Ivermectin, Merck, has also confirmed that it is of no use with COVID. Confirmed, get it. As in all trials of it have proven useless. Please stop offering false hope.

    • Merck has just launched a patented drug called Molnupiravir, that it plans to sell for $700 a dose, and is on course to sell $1.2 billion of it to the US Government. Ivermectin is unpatentable and sells for about $2 a tablet. So it’s not surprising that Merck attacked its own drug. This is a simple case of ‘follow the money’ and pharmaceutical companies doing what they were set up to do, i.e. make money for their shareholders.

      • I think, as seems to frequently occur we have half the story here.

        The website:
        businessinsider.com.au includes the following.

        “Merck is expected to reap billions from its new drug, fueled by supply deals with rich countries like the US.”

        “Merck hopes to make billions while not leaving behind the most vulnerable populations. While the US government is paying $US712 ($AU968) per treatment course, Merck is allowing generic manufacturers to make its pill for lower-income markets, where they will likely charge a fraction of that cost.”

        “Merck has reached agreements with eight generic drug companies, allowing each of them to sell molnupiravir in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries. These generic companies will compete on price, with one report saying they are expected to charge about $US12 ($AU16) to $US15 ($AU20) per treatment course.”

        “Merck hasn’t set a commercial price for molnupiravir yet but said it will use different prices in countries by their income level.”

        It’s not surprising that the US government has agreed to pay $700 per treatment course if it avoids hospitalisation. That price represents a small fraction of a 3-4 week stay in intensive care.

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