These four drugs are useless to combat Covid according to the WHO; Sars-Cov-2 survives 28 days on your cell phone and we will go from a pandemic to a syndemic: three things we learned from the coronavirus this week

Remdesivir was regarded as one of the most promising treatments against Covid-19. But 10 months after the current coronavirus pandemic unleashed, it is, along with three other drugs, be very ineffective in preventing death from infection, according to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The controversial drug it had even become a standard of care in several countries, including the United States.

Originally designed as a treatment for the Ebola virus, Remdesivir was part of the administered experimental cocktail to US President Donald Trump after contracting the coronavirus last month.

But the WHO invalidated it through a study posted on medRxiv, where the effects were analyzed in more than 11 thousand people in 30 countries, 2,750 of which were randomly selected to obtain Remdesivir. The rest received the antimalarial drug hidroxicloroquina, interferon, the antiviral combination lopinavir-ritonavir, or just usual care. These latter drugs had already been largely ruled out for Covid-19 in previous studies, remdesivir not.


The research showed that death rates after 28 days or the need for a ventilator and time in hospital they were relatively similar for those who received Remdesivir versus usual care.

The medicine “Seems to have little or no effect on those hospitalized for Covid-19, as indicated by the mortality rates, the start of respiratory assistance or the length of hospital stay ”, explained the study.

“The big story is that Remdesivir does not have a significant impact on survival,” he summarized. Martin Landray, Professor at the University of Oxford, who led other research on coronavirus treatment.

Science knew that viruses survive for a long time on different surfaces. Therefore, it was expected that Sars-CoV-2 would behave in a similar way.

What the scientists didn’t know was how much it could hold up on some particular surfaces. Now research funded by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) from Australia, they found that Sars-CoV-2 can survive up to 28 days on common surfaces, including banknotes, glass, such as that found on cell phone screens, and stainless steel.

The photo shows a user cleaning his mobile phone

The research, carried out in the Australian Center for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) in Geelong, found that Sars-CoV-2 survived longer at lower temperatures, on smooth or non-porous surfaces such as glass, stainless steel, and vinyl, more than on complex porous surfaces like cotton. It also survived longer on paper bills than on plastic bills.

“Establish how long the virus actually remains viable on surfaces it allows us to more accurately predict and mitigate its spread, and better protect our people, “said CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall in a statement about the study published in Virology Journal.

The scientists also conducted experiments on 30 °C y 40 °C, and found that survival times decreased as temperature increased.

The study was also carried out in the dark to eliminate the effect of ultraviolet lightas research has shown that direct sunlight can quickly inactivate the virus.

Under these conditions they determined that at 20 ° C in cotton it lasts less than 14 days. At that temperature, the case of glass, steel, vinyl, paper and plastic bills was up to 28 days.

When the temperature was increased to 30 ° C, it lasted between 14 to 21 days for paper notes, while for glass, steel and plastic notes, seven days.

At 40 ° C, it lasted less than 16 hours on cotton, 24 hours on glass, steel and plastic bills, and 48 hours on plastic.

The term syndemic was coined by the medical anthropologist Merrill Singer in the 90’s and rescued by Richard Horton, physician and editor of The Lancet, in an editorial in the medical journal. According to this scientist, the current health crisis will go from being a pandemic to a syndemic.

By Singer’s definition, the syndemic is a confluence of diseases and social factors, which aggravate the effects of each pathology in a health emergency scenario.

Horton explained that even if they talk about a syndemic, it does not mean that talking about a pandemic is wrong, or that it is necessarily more serious, it has to do with a different approach. “A syndemic refers to when different diseases or health conditions are added, and that given their biological characteristics they interact with each other and with other social conditions, causing the damage of each one or all of them to increase or be exacerbated in certain groups ”, explained Lorena Hoffmeister, director of the School of Public Health of the Universidad Mayor, interviewed by Qué Pasa.

Horton in the article “Covid-19 is not a pandemic” (“Covid-19 is not a pandemic”), explained that we are experiencing a syndicate because they are interacting two categories of diseases that deepen the seriousness of the global social and health situation.

On the one hand, the respiratory virus Sars-CoV-2, which generates Covid-19, and on the other, a group of non-contagious pathologies that complicate the first: hypertension, obesity, cancer, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

“The sum of these diseases in the context of inequality causes the aggravation of each one of them separately”Horton noted.

The doctor added that the most important consequence of considering Covid-19 as a syndicate, “involves underlining its social origin, putting the magnifying glass on the vulnerability suffered by the elderly, ethnic minorities and essential workers.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.