- The findings could help in vaccine development: Expert
- There may be a tendency to overlook vaccines and other treatments: Expert
- Some drugs may reduce how long an infected person is contagious: Expert
New Delhi: A vaccine or medication that could shorten the infectious period of COVID-19 in patients, even by one day, may potentially prevent millions of cases and save billions of dollars, according to a new modelling study. The research, published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, noted that some vaccines and drugs may have subtler effects by which even if they cannot prevent or cure COVID-19, they may still reduce how long an infected person is contagious.
In the study, scientists including those from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health in the US, assessed the potential value of shortening the infectious period in COVID-19 patients. The researchers created a computational model that simulates the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and used it to explore how a vaccine or medication that can reduce the contagious period might alleviate the clinical and economic impact of the disease.
According to the study, reducing the contagious period by half a day could avert up to 1.4 million cases and over 99,000 hospitalisations even if only a quarter of people with symptoms were treated. Cutting the contagious period by 3.5 days, they said, could avert up to 7.4 million cases, and expanding such treatment to 75 per cent of everyone infected could avert 29.7 million cases and save USD 856 billion, the study noted. The researchers believe the findings could help guide research and investments into development of vaccines or medications that reduce the infectious period of SARS-CoV-2.
“There may be a tendency to overlook vaccines and other treatments that don’t prevent a COVID-19 infection or cure disease,” said study co-author Bruce Lee from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health.
But this study showed that even relatively small changes in how long people are contagious can significantly affect the transmission and spread of the virus and thus save billions of dollars and avert millions of new cases, Mr. Lee said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.