08-03-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
The Coronavirus won't reach Sub-Saharan Africa because it can't withstand the heat? Or will it deflagrate as soon as the first cases are discovered as Ebola and Sars have not done in the past?
These and many other questions that pose the spotlight of the most bastard influence of recent years (but still an influence) on Kenya and its surroundings are for now useless exercises that serve only to inflate the solos of social networks, in the frenetic "copy paste" by as many journalists or presumed such that they prefer commentary to the news itself and take in bulk words and quotes from scientific journals, virology chiefs, WHO leaders, hospitals and (worse than the worst) Health Ministers around the world.
Serious and proven indications are still a long way off and hopefully this will happen before any virus spread even below the Equator.
This is the opinion of one of the most important experts on tropical diseases but also on viruses in Africa, the Italian doctor Mauro Saio of Nairobi Hospital.
"Every day the results of many theoretical studies are published in specialized journals or on other sites, also carried out by pools of renowned researchers and experienced virologists - explains Saio to malindikenya.net - but as interesting as they are for now are only studies that can not have a practical feedback. For that must be done experiments and it takes time, as well as to test the first vaccines".
More than one of these studies has brought up as a possible cure for Co-Vid19 the same drug used some years ago to heal Ebola patients in Congo and Uganda, remdesivir. Mauro Saio remembers well the times of the Ebola emergency, having been at the forefront of prevention and attention when it seemed that it could also spread to the Kenyan part of Lake Victoria.
"I have read about this possibility - explains the Italian doctor for over 40 years in Kenya - but it is difficult to believe that two different pathologies with completely different modes of transmission (Ebola, such as HIV through blood, Coronavirus through saliva and mucus droplets) can be treated with the same active ingredients. Much more interesting, if anything, is the test being carried out by Korean doctors, who have combined two protease inhibitors (already effective in the 2003 Sars emergency) with a normal antifreeze. But even these are attempts that need numbers, positive volunteer patients that lend themselves, and then see effects and healing rates, it will take time. In this sense also the continuous changes of opinion and judgement of the World Health Organization do not help".
Someone also brought up the fact that Africans, so accustomed to almost daily illnesses from childhood and difficult life situations, may have developed antibodies themselves ready to fight the virus.
"This is a false belief - warns Dr. Saio - the hypothetical immunity of Africans can count for certain parasites they have to deal with for living conditions, water and other, but certainly not for viruses, which act differently".
Even on the speech, taken from several bells of a Co-Vid19 not very resistant to heat and ineffective above 28 degrees, Saio is cautious.
"Sars and Mers, the two previous similar viruses - he explains - did not arrive in East Africa and also in the West they extinguished at the gates of summer. The hope is that it can also happen here. The Sars virus for example was more aggressive and in fact the mortality rate already at the beginning was higher, while the Co-vid19 shows greater resistance on the surfaces. We still need to understand where the temperature could make a difference. Kenya is trying to prepare for a possible emergency with facilities and personnel, but at the moment we are far from being able to handle more than a few isolated cases, swabs are still few and the specialist doctors also".
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