Impact of COVID-19 on Global Health

COVID–19 (CoronaVirus Disease–2019) is a disease caused by a new strain of Coronavirus – the SARS–CoV–2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–CoronaVirus–2). Adult patients with COVID–19 develop a variety of symptoms ranging from mild/moderate (fever, dry cough, headache and muscular pain) to severe (pneumonia, and breathing difficulties associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome) or, in some instances, death. In children under 5 years of age, SARS-CoV-2 can cause a vasculitis-like syndrome known as Kawasaki Disease – a paediatric condition characterized by inflammation of blood vessels (e.g. coronary arteries) and other symptoms including fever, red eyes and skin rashes of palms and soles.
The outbreak of COVID–19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30th 2020 and a Pandemic on March 11th 2020. As of June 25th 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 3,800,000 people have succumbed to complications associated with COVID–19, worldwide. This is likely a gross underestimate of the true number of COVID–19–related deaths, which is expected to increase steadily in the coming months, despite the development of effective vaccines. Vaccines are – without a doubt – invaluable to public health: the vaccination program against polio virus was responsible for the eradication of polio, after its routine introduction in 1955.
Ongoing vaccination programmes against COVID-19 have contributed immensely to the decrease in the number of COVID-19 reports worldwide. There are, however, a number of patients (namely immunocompromised patients) that cannot benefit from current vaccination programmes. For example, kidney transplant patients that receive immunosuppressants to control organ rejection cannot mount an effective immune-response to COVID-19 vaccination. At the other end of the spectrum, vaccination may be contraindicated for patients with auto-immune disorders or severe allergies. As such, there is still a pressing need to develop an effective antiviral treatment to complement the ongoing vaccination programmes.

Finding a Cure

At present, there is no single effective antiviral treatment for COVID-19 patients. Healthcare providers are limited to offering symptomatic relief and supportive care to COVID-19 patients. At PrimerGen, we are working to develop an antiviral treatment against COVID–19. Specifically, we are looking into repurposing currently approved medications for the treatment of COVID-19. Recent studies suggest that a number of currently used medications may be readily repurposed as antiviral treatments with success in the treatment of COVID–19 (Gordon et al., 2020). We intend to further investigate and test the efficacy and safety of antiviral drugs both in vitro and in vivo. We are doing this work in collaboration with a team of chemists, biochemists and virologists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver (Canada). We are confident that our longstanding experience in drug characterization coupled to our strong partnerships with renowned international academic institutions will yield fruitful discoveries and, ultimately, lead to the development of a efficacious novel antiviral treatment for COVID-19.
To learn more about our strategy, please contact us at: geral@primergen.group