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COVID-19: Is Hope In Sight?

By Ekemini Simon



There is no vaccine for COVID-19 – WHO

The above declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) about the novel coronavirus does not only send a signal about how dreaded the virus is, but throws many who are infected by the virus into despondency concerning their recovery.

Many who are infected share the same sentiments of a 29-year old Nigerian activist, Oluwaseun Osowobi who opened up to testing positive by the virus. She narrates ” The first thing that came to my mind was, “Am I going to die?” I feared that am I going to be one of the people to be counted as dead”.

Osowobi is not alone in this state of trepidation. Even Doctors who become infected share same fright.

According to Dr Otobong Asuquo, a Specialist in Obstetrics and gynecology who revealed himself to have been the first index case to test positive in Akwa Ibom State mentions that he was drenched with intense apprehension when he tested positive.

“As human, I felt wow, COVID-19, very deadly, killing people in the US, China and all over the World is now in Nigeria and I am positive, the first index case in Akwa Ibom State.”

He reveals that he started thinking about what would become of his family especially his wife and who will take care of his young children after his demise.

Nonetheless, despite the jitters that come with the infection, statistics point to the fact that although large number of persons are infected, an impressive number are among those recovering.

As of 6:30 am of April 24, 2020, globally, there were 2,726.188 cases of those infected with coronavirus. There were 191, 074 deaths and 749, 651 recovery, leaving active cases of patients at 1,785,463.

In Nigeria, according to Nigeria Centre For Disease Control, there are 981 confirmed cases, 197 discharged, and 31 deaths.

In Akwa Ibom State, there are 11 confirmed cases, 3 discharged, and one case of death.

The available statistics point to one fact: the recovery rate is higher than the mortality rate. This gives hope for chances of survival.

Notwithstanding, since according to WHO, there are no vaccines for cure, how then are those infected by the virus recovering? To find answer to this question, those who recovered may be in a good position to reveal the secret.

Survivors Tell the Story

Experiences of patients vary from countries to countries. Yet, in Nigeria, most of the COVID-19 patients who have recovered after being tested early reveal that what helped them recover is a strong immune system enhanced by common supplements and a few medication. Some of the survivors also mention that a positive attitude sailed them pass the turbulence.

According to a recent report by Premium Times, the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, reveals that the secret to his recovery was simply taking honey, Vitamin C and Blackseed Oil.

Makinde says when he was informed by his friend who is a Doctor that the oil from blackseed otherwise known as Roman Coriander or black sesame boosts immunity, he had to “mix it with honey and took one teaspoon in the morning and one in the evening.” That was the magic for him.

He adds, “So, there are local solutions to boost immunity. Our people should not fret. Just as I have been able to get the virus out of my system, so will it be for majority of our people”.

Another survivor in her recent interview with Aljazeera, Osowobi quoted earlier offers insight to what helped her. “I was given a couple of medications to handle COVID-19 and also to handle the side effects of the medications.”

Although she has not disclosed the specific medication, Osowobi mentions something more important than the medications. “What’s important is your health and your body’s capacity to fight any infection or virus. For your body to fight the virus, you also need to equip it with the right diet and the right medication”, the Survivor points out.

What is more, the mindset one carries can play an important factor in the fight for survival. Dr Asuquo mentioned earlier, stresses the importance of a positive attitude. He says “With time, I realized that the mortality rate is not that much, there are chances of survival. I knew that with God, I will pull through this”.

Yet, regardless of all the averment by the survivors, what do experts who really carry out the treatment identify as what helps people recover from the novel coronavirus?

Experts Speak

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), there is no specific treatment for disease caused by the novel coronavirus. They however note that many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment will be based on the patient’s clinical condition. WHO adds, “Moreover, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.”

What does this mean? A medical Doctor among the team handling COVID-19 Patients in Akwa Ibom State, Dr Usenobong Morgan, notes that what they basically do to help patients of COVID-19 is to see how to address symptoms exhibited by the patients. He explains that what may kill the patients is when they are overwhelmed by the symptoms.

He mentions these symptoms to include fever, tiredness, dry cough, sneezing, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, diarrhoea and sore throat.

Dr Morgan offers insight to the fact that what he believes is the most important and approved treatment is steam inhalation.

He says: “The virus cannot stand heat. Steam inhalation is a direct heat into the system and the virus can’t stand it. What the virus does is that it causes difficulty in breathing by generating a lot of mucous that blocks the airways. That’s when you begin to have upper respiratory tract infection and find it very difficult to breathe”.

Dr Morgan points out the fact that steam inhalation, apart from killing the virus itself, has the ability to remove the debris heaped along the patient’s airways that will help the person to breathe well.

Commenting on the supplements that aid recovery, the Doctor says the only approved regiment is zinc and vitamin C.

He notes that the reason zinc and vitamin C are recommended is that they are supplements that treat many diseases including diarrhea even as they are renowned to boost the immune system.

Dr Morgan however points out that although other supplements recommended by those who recover are not approved, he does not dispute their probable potency since the virus is known not to survive against hot substances.

He adds: “Some people are taking a lot of drinks and come out to say it has helped them. We can’t tell exactly which one helped. Nobody knows.
“Anything that is hot, whether ginger or garlic, study has shown that the virus cannot stand it.”

What is more, the Assistant State Epidemiologist and official of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Umoette states that the key to recovery is a strong immune system which will battle the virus and also availing oneself for treatment early.


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She advises even those who are not infected to build a strong immune system against any potential virus. Yet, what are the key things to do to have a healthy, strong immune system?

How to Build Strong Immune System

Medical experts recommend that to strengthen the body immune system, one must make sure that he gets sufficient sleep. They note that it is during sleep that the body produces T cells that fight against pathogens.

It is also recommended that foods which will help the body strengthen its defenses must be taken as a priority. Medical experts recommend that such diet should emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, which supply the amino acids needed to build up the immune system.

Regardless of the capacity of the immune system and efficiency in treatment, the Director General Of WHO, Tidros Ghebreyesus notes the nucleus of COVID-19 recovery:
“The faster we recruit patients, the faster we will get results.”

Be that as it may, will people continue to follow the seeming probability and long route of treatment before surviving COVID-19? Is a cure in sight?

The Future of COVID-19

Ghebreyesus during his media briefing on April 22, 2020 noted that since the COVID-19 virus remains extremely dangerous coupled with the fact that evidence suggests that most of the world’s population remains susceptible, the end to COVID-19 may not be near.

He said ” Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time.”

Nevertheless, many experts believe that just as the world was able to conquer Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome SARS -cov and Middle East respiratory syndrome, MERS-Cov which were all fatal respiratory infection caused by Coronavirus, the World can triumph over the novel Coronavirus. This conviction has led to a number of scientists setting their experimental sail.

As a result, world over, many have recommended a variety of cure for the novel coronavirus.

United States President, Donald Trump, had controversially recommended chloroquine.

Dr Zev Zelenko in New York has boasted to treating over 700 positive cases with no death. His prescription? Hydroxychloroquine 200mg twice daily for 5 days; Azithromycin 500mg once a day for 5 days, Zinc sulfate 220mg for 5 days.

Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute with Peter Doherty Institute of infection and Immunity with joint venture of University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital insist that Ivermecin with only two doses within 24 hours apart kills the COVID-19 virus.

The drug Remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences is also highlighted by experts as one of several potential treatments for the novel coronavirus and it is now being studied in clinical trials.

Nigeria is not left out. A Nigerian medical researcher, and former lecturer in Microbiology and principal staff at Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Kaduna State, Professor Ayodele Adeleye, has claimed to have a cure for coronavirus (Covid-19).

Moreover, the World Health Organisation points out that when a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. “It can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed”, WHO stresses.

The World’s topmost Health Authority however assures that there may still be a light at the end of the tunnel. They note that as part of their response to the outbreak, a Research and Development (R&D) Blueprint has been activated to accelerate the development of diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for the novel virus.

WHO assures thus: “Under WHO’s coordination, a group of experts with diverse backgrounds are working towards the development of vaccines against COVID-19”.

Interestingly, with all the effort and trials from researchers and medical experts coupled with assurances from the World Health Organization, one fact stands out: the world is experiencing sleepless night in a bid to find cure to this rampageous virus and hopes are high.

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