Dr Ranj on the race for a Covid-19 cure to make Britain safe again

It’s no understatement to say that coronavirus has ravaged the nation, and indeed the world. Here in the UK, the death toll is rapidly approaching 40,000. Globally, it’s nearly 330,000 and growing every day.

A global threat like this has not been seen for around 100 years. It may not happen again for another 100, but there is no way to be certain.

The situation here may be showing signs of easing, but the most worrying thing is that there is no way to tell how long this current pandemic will last, or if and when it will be back.

The only thing to counter that sense of dread is the knowledge that there is a monumental effort happening right now across the world to combat and defeat this horrible disease. Governments, scientists and medics across the globe are working at breakneck speeds never witnessed before to find a way to stop and ultimately prevent Covid-19.

Research looking at ways we can treat patients who develop Covid-19, and save their lives, is hurtling along.

Here in the UK, the Recovery Trial into potential treatments was set up in just nine days and has already recruited thousands of patients.

A trial like this has never been conducted at such a rapid pace, and it may change the way we do them from now on.

The hope is that at least one of the many therapies being tested will offer some hope to those who end up in hospital. Originally starting with four different drugs, it has already added a fifth, and soon another treatment will be added into the mix. This really is cutting edge, real-life medicine.

typically vaccines take years to develop.
Typically, vaccines take years to develop.

However, drugs treatments are just part of the solution. Even if the trials show that we can treat Covid-19, get people better and them back home, the only way we are truly going to beat this pandemic is by stopping it ever coming back. That’s precisely where vaccines come in.

Vaccination has been one of medicine’s greatest achievements and has already led to the control or elimination of diseases across the world, like smallpox and polio.

Dr Ranj (left) spoke to Professor Andrew Pollard, who is running the Oxford Vaccine trials.
Dr Ranj (left) spoke to Professor Andrew Pollard (right), who is running the Oxford Vaccine trials.

However, typically vaccines take years, if not decades, to develop, and eventually get to people who need them. That was until now.

Within months of this coronavirus emerging in China, human trials of potential vaccines had already started. This pace of vaccine discovery and deployment is unprecedented, and just goes to show what we can do when necessary.

However, no-one knows if they will work and the whole world is waiting with bated breath to see the results.

Will any of this be worth it? Will we ever find a cure? The honest answer is we don’t know… yet.

Without the research we would never have known, and we are about to find out any minute now. In the meantime, we stay at home, wash our hands and socially distance until the race to make Britain safe again is hopefully won.

Elisa Granato was one of those injected as part of human trials in Oxford.
Elisa Granato was one of those injected as part of human trials in Oxford.

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