It's kind of interesting going through a global pandemic . . . with a scientist.
Tom has spent his entire career as an organic chemist working in the pharmaceutical industry. He's particularly interested in following along with all the science-y information coming out about COVID-19 these days. He's knowledgable about - and really good at explaining - the issues and progress being reported every day. He helps me understand how fast the COVID-19 science is moving right now, and how much scientists are learning all the time. He trusts that science . . . will figure this out!
And that's really comforting.
What does concern him? Why . . . all the people out there who doubt and second-guess science!
Because, like Tom's coffee mug says, we NEED science.
Now more than ever.
Yesterday, Tom forwarded an article to me that was written by Dr. Paul Wood, one of his former colleagues (who is now a professor at a university in Australia). The article offered a brief summary of how the science is progressing in different areas related to COVID-19 . . . in more simple terms that non-scientists can understand, and without the hype of news reporting. It brought some comfort to me yesterday, so I thought I'd share a few things with you, too.
Here goes (these are all direct quotes from his article):
Vaccines: We already make vaccines to several corona viruses in animals, so we know how to make a vaccine to SARS-2 covid -19. It will just take some time, but with dozens of groups around the world working on this problem rapid progress is being made. The first vaccines will use conventional vaccine processes as we do not have time to develop, scale and validate a new manufacturing process.
Anti-viral agents: Very quickly we have screened all the currently registered drugs for activity against this virus and there are several promising candidates. Once we determine the correct dose these drugs can be used to treat infected patients. Drug companies also have libraries of millions of new compounds and these are also being screened for more effective new anti-viral agents.
Passive Antibody therapy: This treatment has been used for centuries and works well for viral infections. You take antibodies from people who have recovered from the infection and inject them into infected individuals. The problem is we don’t currently have enough people who have recovered from covid-19 to donate their blood. The other solution is to make these neutralizing antibodies in the lab, using humanised monoclonal antibodies that we can produce at scale as recombinant proteins. We then use a cocktail of these recombinant antibodies to different parts of the virus to treat patients. The first of these products is already being tested in humans.
So. Yeah. I know. It's still science. (And those scientists do have a language all their own.) But maybe it helps . . . to know that scientists around the world are working hard - all the time - to figure out all they can about COVID-19 and how to overcome it.