Covid-19 – Risk, impacts and treatment

According to my previous report, the risk factors are still under research. New studies explore the relationship of epidemiological features of COVID-19 and the potential risk factors. There is also an active ongoing research to find the treatment for the coronavirus. This and the current situation in Spain will be briefly discussed in this article.

Risks and impacts

Authors investigate the blood group as a risk factor from a molecular biology point of view and relate it to previous studies and findings of another coronavirus, SARS-CoV infection detected in 2002-2003. They state that there might be an association of blood group O with low risk, whereas group A with high risk of infection. According to Spanish Ministry of Health reports, based on the data collected by the Centre for Coordination of Alerts and Emergencies, the diagnosed cases that develop in more severe cases appeared to have greater proportion of base diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

The impact of this novel coronavirus is quite high as the basic reproductive number R0 is reported to be higher than other coronavirus. For instance, authors present results of several independent studies that show the R0 estimation and their variation. Their review shows an average R0 at about 3.28 (median 2.79), whereas R0 estimated by WHO ranges from 1.4 to 2.5. It is also worth to notice that mathematical methods presented higher estimates than statistical methods, that presented lower R0 estimates.

The current situation in Spain is that the number of cases is still increasing actively (see Fig.1), however the increment in number of cases is not exponential. Experts say that COVID-19 is behaving as expected according to a mathematical model called Gompertz (see Fig. 2), named after Benjamin Gompertz, which is widely used in biology and demographics. This model allows for a short-term prediction of behaviour of the epidemic. According to the Centre for Coordination of Alerts and Emergencies of Spanish Ministry of Health, the complete control of the epidemic might last until mid June.

The Ministry of Health estimates the proportion of asymptomatic cases as of around 15%-21%. If we also consider the fact that 2019-nCoV is very contagious (more than SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV), the situation is very delicate and serious.

How will the treatment of covid-19 be?

Currently, there are being performed many research and official clinical trials to find the treatment for COVID-19. A combination of Lopinavir-Ritonavir treatment has been studied and refused.

Authors discuss recent findings that suggest chloroquine, chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for 2019-nCoV infection. The authors present previous research and use involving chloroquine and also the recent clinical trials registered in Chinese Clinical Trial Register and research led, in which authors conclude that this drug might be highly effective for the control of 2019-nCoV.

In conclusion, the scientific community is working hard to find an effective treatment for the 2019-nCoV infection. Another direction of these efforts goes towards exploring and knowing the virus in order to prevent and control its potential reincidence in the future.

You can follow the evolution of covid-19 on our dashboard

Publicado por

Yaroslav Hernández Potiomkin

Data Scientist en STRATESYS