COVID focus now: protect the vulnerable, doctor says as widespread mitigation measures ease | State and Area News

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, doctors had limited knowledge on how to respond to this new disease. Doctors in hard-hit parts of the world had to learn by treating the first wave of patients, relying on ventilators and high-flow oxygen treatments, as well as early drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir. to reduce the risk of patient death.

Years later, we have since seen several vaccines prove to be very effective in preventing serious diseases. The Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were all developed in record time, building on previous coronavirus vaccine research and gene technology. In December 2021, unvaccinated adults in the United States were 2.4 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than fully vaccinated adults and were 14 times more likely to die from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The probability of unvaccinated infection rose to 2.6 times as recently as January 2022.

At the same time, pharmaceutical companies have developed a variety of drugs that can ease symptoms of COVID-19 in people who test positive. Monoclonal antibody treatments boost the immune system, as patients receive infusions of lab-made proteins designed to fight the coronavirus. In December 2021, the United States Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for an antiviral pill treatment that reduces the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies and pills are most effective when patients receive treatment soon after their COVID-19 symptoms start.

Compared to the fact that it is a new disease never known to medical science, progress in developing treatments has been remarkably quick and nimble. Stacker compiled a list of milestones in the availability of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines in the first two years of the pandemic, using information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Food and Drug Administration. and media reports.