Coronavirus (COVID-19) Treatment
Currently there is no medication available to treat the virus and no cure is available. Antibiotics are not as effective in treating viral infections as COVID 19. Researchers are testing a variety of possible treatment options and innovations.
Antiviral drug remdesivir is a possible effective medicine used to treat severe COVID 19. Also recommended is corticosteroid dexamethasone to treat people with severe COVID 19 who require supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation.
Supportive care which is aimed at relieving symptoms, may include the following –
- Pain relievers (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
- Cough syrup or medication
- Fluid intake
In patients with kidney disease NSAIDS like ibuprofen, diclofenac etc are to be avoided. If one has mild symptoms, your nephrologist recommends to stay and recover at home. During this time one has to take care of oneself and efficiently manage stress. Problem is if the patient is on regular haemodialysis patients in a dialysis centre. Dialysis patients can’t skip dialysis. Options for them are covid19 dialysis centres, home haemodialysis, or continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. If chronic kidney disease patient is affected with COVID 19 disease it is all the more important to –
- One needs to take healthy meals.
- One needs to get proper sleep.
- One has to do physical activity as much as one is able to do like exercise or yoga. If one feels better one may go outside for a walk.
- One may also try relaxing exercises like deep breathing, stretching and meditation.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink fluids if urine volume is adequate. Otherwise fluid restriction as advised by the kidney doctor.
- Inform the kidney doctor immediately if the condition worsens.
Convalescent plasma therapy is an experimental treatment that some doctors are trying to cure people with severe coronavirus disease.
People who have recovered from the coronavirus have antibodies – proteins that the body uses to ward off infections of the disease from their blood. This blood from people who have recovered or cured is called convalescent plasma. This is the liquid portion of the blood.
Researchers also believe that the convalescent plasma can be given to people to boost their ability to fight the virus. This might help people with moderate illness from getting severely ill and developing complications.
If one has got the disease and finally recovered from it, one must consider donating blood through a local donation center or blood bank.
Why is it done?
Convalescent plasma therapy might help people with coronavirus who are not helped by any other treatments. Some people might not respond to other drugs while remaining very sick. These kinds of patients might develop respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – which is severe lung disorder. They might require a ventilator to breathe and are susceptible to developing organ failure.
This might also help people with higher risk of serious illness like people with serious chronic medical conditions for example heart disease or diabetes or people with weaker immune systems. Convalescent plasma might help these kinds of people from getting further sick if they get the coronavirus.
Plasma and blood are also used to treat various other diseases and are considered very safe. The risk of contracting coronavirus through receiving convalescent plasma has not been tested till now. But researchers believe that this kind of transmission possibility is very limited because the plasma donor has completely recovered.
Convalescent plasma therapy has the following risks –
- Might have allergic reactions
- Difficulty in breathing from lung damage
- Transmission of infections like hepatitis B and C, HIV
Before the procedure
Prior to the convalescent plasma therapy, the healthcare team prepares one for the procedure. A healthcare member inserts a single-use needle with a tube (intravenous, or IV, line) into a vein of one of the arms.
During the procedure
After the plasma arrives, the uninfected or sterile plasma is attached to the tube and it drips out of the bag into the tube. This takes around one to two hours to complete the procedure.
It is not yet known if plasma therapy will be an effective treatment for coronavirus. One might not experience any benefit .
However this treatment might improve one’s ability to recover from the disease.
The collective results of the treatment on patients of the plasma therapy can provide information about the effectiveness of the therapy and if it might become an approved way of treatment of the coronavirus disease. During the preliminary treatment quite a few people have benefited. Researchers still continue to evaluate the results from people who received the therapy treatment.