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How science is being used in actions to contain the progress of COVID-19 - Gerais

How science is being used in actions to contain the progress of COVID-19 – Gerais

(Photo: Bruno Haddad/Disclosure)

This is the beauty of science: we understand the recommendations and adjust them according to what we learn. But there’s north, that’s common sense

Luana Arago, infectious disease physician and epidemiologist

In addition to the doctors and nurses who fight daily in the war for life in hospital corridors, on another battlefront Epidemiologists e Infectious diseases. During the novel coronavirus pandemic, these specialists have learned about contamination, transmission, medications, the effectiveness of periods of stricter movement restrictions, and even vaccines. Today, they celebrate scientific advances, which have been challenged and questioned, but which have evolved significantly over the course of a year.


We have to constantly review protocols and guidelines. What science has developed at that time, in terms of understanding how things work, is an enormous thing

Adelino Melo de Freire Jr., infectious disease doctor and technical and scientific director of the Felicio Rocho Hospital

The world’s first official case of COVID-19 was of a patient who was hospitalized on December 12, 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, an unknown enemy, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has mobilized the entire world to search for answers and therapeutic solutions to stop its spread. At first, for example, I recommend using only people with symptoms mascara. Today, the recommendation is for everyone to use it, and if possible, at least two. Which is explained by Dr. Luana Arajo, an infectious disease and epidemiologist who made one of the most powerful statements in defense of science and against the use of unproven methods in the CPI for COVID, in the Senate.

“I need to look at this recommendation from the perspective of the context of time. What we did know was that we did not have enough resources and input to protect everyone. So, it was necessary, at the time, to manage these resources so that you could reach those most in need. And those who needed it most at that moment were basically the health workers, who were constantly exposed to the virus, and their pathogenesis is still understood. So all the resources that we had at that time, the most protective masks, the N95, should be dedicated to these professionals,” He remembers.

Gradually, the industry equipped itself and was able to produce more of these inputs. At the same time, the teat It has gained a better understanding of the mechanism of disease transmission, by being able to demonstrate, for example, that an asymptomatic person also transmits the virus and needs to wear a mask, as well as other preventive measures, such as proper hand hygiene and distancing. “This is the beauty of science: We understand and adjust these recommendations as we learn. But there is a north of common sense, which should always prevail,” Luana highlighted.

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Another learning about transmission is the evidence that the main form of contamination is the respiratory system. “The route of surface contamination, although it exists, is not the most important. The most important is the respiratory system,” highlights the specialist, who lists other lessons learned. “We also understood that there is some degree of transmission of this virus, not only by droplets, but also by aerosols, so natural ventilation is a very useful tool to deal with this, because the air is still air with suspended particles and may They contain the virus. The route of (transmission through) surfaces – through which everything is washed, sanitized and disinfected – is not as important as initially believed, and we now know that hand hygiene is sufficient to compensate for this type of transmission.”

From the unknown to the most effective antivirus

Infectious disease physician Adelino Melo de Freire Jr., medical director of Target Medicina de Necessidades and technical and scientific director of Felcio Rocho Hospital, remembers what it was like to be an infectious disease specialist when COVID-19 arrived. “On January 23, 2020, I had arrived at Felcio Rocho Hospital and a nurse called me saying that there was a young man in the emergency room with fever and body aches and had recently arrived from a city in China. Wuhan, which seemed to have some Problems. At that moment, I was very scared. I got dressed and recognized the patient, ”recalls the doctor.

The patient, a young man from Belo Horizonte who was undergoing an internship in Wuhan, arrived in Brazil five days ago. Although he had gastroenteritis and had no respiratory symptoms, the doctor called the epidemiological surveillance. But because the symptoms were not consistent with what was known about COVID-19 at the time, the boy was eventually released. “With no serious symptoms, he was completely cured after two days. But that led to a red light for us. We set up our own crisis committee a few days later, trying to make some predictions there, in terms of buying the inputs, and we imagined it could really spread, as he says.

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In mid-March, when the race to get supplies really started, the doctor realized that although he was planning to buy in advance, the hospital he was working in had only materials for three days of COVID-19 care. The reality went further than we expected. It was also the experience of a lot of growth, learning, teamwork and in a way of humility. We have to constantly review protocols and guidelines. What science has developed in that time, in terms of understanding how things work, is an enormous thing,” he said.

They are lessons for, as well as humanitarian workers, the techniques to be taken in in the post-pandemic phase. “I think we learned a number of things. One of the great lessons is the value of this new type, from this new vaccine platform, which is RNA, a turning point in science. It can make us get new vaccinations and new vaccine updates,” says the doctor, who was vaccinated after Exactly one year after receiving care from the young man who arrived from Wuhan. “My first dose was after 365 days. That was a huge step forward. We can imagine that for a new disease, a vaccine can be obtained within one year, and it is applied all over the world, without a doubt a great advance in science.”

What are they still wondering

Although a lot of knowledge has already been gained, questions about the novel coronavirus infection remain unanswered. Check out some of the lists listed by the experts EM consulted:

Is our vaccine mix sufficient to meet global needs?

Will the speed we do it protect everyone? Because we already know that it’s not just about the efficacy of vaccination, it’s a question of the speed of action, that if any part of the world remains unvaccinated, that place becomes a haven for the virus to be able to multiply and produce new variants that they can put the rest of the entire planet behind the new planet. Not our vaccine mix, are we on the right pace for it?

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What are the long-term consequences of the coronavirus?

We know that they are individual consequences in different systems, cardiovascular consequences, brain, we have problems with the emergence of diseases such as diabetes. We already know that the virus causes a lot in people’s bodies, so what is its size and what is the impact on the health system?

What is the impact of the epidemic on the development of our country?

There are many effects on health, but other areas are affected. What impact does this have on our education or our social and economic development? It may seem like just a virus, but it’s all about it, from the disease to our ability as a society to deal with it, to the effects on individual health and group thinking and how this will behave in our history as a society. There is still much to discover.

Luana Arago, infectious disease physician and epidemiologist

The real question is the origin of the virus.

If transmission of animal origin has begun or if there has already been a leak in a research laboratory. In chorus with the whole world, even with the World Health Organization, for the time being, there is no evidence to conclude either side or the other. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories that this was intentionally broken up, but the possibility of a leak should be thoroughly investigated.

We still need an answer regarding effective treatment.

We have a series of possible treatments that have been approved outside of Brazil, the monoclonal antibodies are still expensive, still inaccessible, and the result is still not what changes the history of the disease. It’s an opportunity to help, but it’s not a magical cure.

And how much longer will we need to live the way we do, with masks and dissociation?

Start responding to that now, in a newer way. We are now beginning to produce publications illustrating the relevant reduction in transmission in communities with a high vaccination rate.

Adelino Milo de Freire Jr., infectious disease doctor