Coronavirus advances could see ‘more normal’ world in 18 months

Coronavirus advances could see ‘more normal’ world in 18 months
Coronavirus advances could see ‘more normal’ world in 18 months

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: A leading British public health expert has claimed the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) could become “much more treatable” in the next six to 18 months.

Sir Simon Stevens, the head of Public Health England, told UK MPs the world could look forward to a “much more normal future” with the onset of new treatments, as well as vaccine programs. 

Sir Simon told the UK Health and Social Care Select Committee: ”The first half of the year, vaccination is going to be crucial. I think a lot of us in the health service are increasingly hopeful that the second half of the year and beyond, we will also see more therapeutics and more treatments for coronavirus.

“I think it is possible that over the course of the next six to 18 months, coronavirus becomes a much more treatable disease with antivirals and other therapies, which alongside the vaccination program, holds out the hope of a return to a much more normal future,” he added.

As governments and pharmaceutical giants have raced to develop COVID-19 vaccines, so too have efforts increased to find alternative treatments, including through use of new antiviral treatments, and established ones previously used for conditions ranging from lung diseases to cancers.

Sir Simon said that reducing infection rates via vaccine programs remained the most important aspect of global efforts to reduce the spread.

“Fundamentally, the most important thing is to get the overall infection rate down … this is principally about reducing the avoidable death rate,” he told the MPs.

He added that initial efforts to vaccinate older members of the population, over the age of 65, would have a “big impact” on overall numbers, but also stated that around a quarter of severe cases of COVID-19 were in people aged under 55. In the UK, he continued, almost half of critical care bed days in hospital were occupied by people under the 65 age bracket.

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