Since the coronavirus pandemic shut down the world, scientists have clamored to develop vaccines to prevent the spread and medicines that will cure the sick. But a virus’ main goal is to replicate and infect, so the virus can mutate to survive and continue on its journey. Looking at the coronavirus, you’ll see it has several mutations, including the most recently talked about delta variant sweeping over India and invading the rest of the globe.
This delta variant is about 4 times more transmissible and also more severe than the original Wuhan strain or the A-lineage. And Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) have come out to proclaim their respective vaccines’ effectiveness against this and other variants that cause COVID-19. In fact, real world scenarios in India show the effectiveness of the vaccines around 65% effective as opposed to the presumed 95%. That’s a significant decrease. But no matter the percentage rate effectiveness of the vaccines, the only way to win the battles to come is to develop effective therapeutics to complement the them.
Variants Now and to Come
The first strain of the coronavirus coming out of Wuhan is known as the A-lineage. Since the beginning, this highly variable RNA virus mutated to enhance its effectiveness at infecting the population, thereby creating the B-lineage, which includes everything from D614G to the current delta version.
Now, in Peru, medical professionals identified the start of a new lineage — C. That lineage includes the Lambda variant, which could be more deadly than the previous variants of SARS-CoV-2, although the evidence to support that is insufficient at this time. That said, there is no way to stop the virus from mutating again and again into more deadly strains.
So, NanoViricides (NYSE: NNVC), a global leader in nanomedicine, decided to work on medicines to treat and heal the disease — no matter the mutation. And the drug already showed its oral effectiveness in animal models. It is moving as fast as possible to keep up with the prolific virus to get society to a point where it can live with something that looks like it’s here to stay. In addition to NanoViricides, other drugs are in the works to continue the fight against the coronavirus and its variants. These include Merck’s molnupiravir, which received several billion dollars in government funding and failed Phase 2 of clinical studies, and Pfizer’s oral antiviral protease inhibitor PF-07321332/ritonavir combination soon expected to enter Phase 2 clinical trials.
After the Pandemic’s end
The truth is, people are waiting for the pandemic to end, but SARS-CoV-2 and its variants will more than likely become endemic as it keeps coming back in more mutated versions for the foreseeable future. As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson points out, the population will have to “learn to live with” it.
Because of the social and economic impact the virus has had, it’s unreasonable to think the entire world will continue to shut down indefinitely. As a global society, that’s not a sustainable existence. The better idea is to use vaccinations to limit the spread while developing therapeutics to treat the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus. That way, people can coexist with the coronavirus and get back to the kind of life society so desperately craves.
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