TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s lives in many aspects. Through its journey, global citizens are expected to learn the lesson and could be prepared if similar issues occur. During the 2023 APSR Congress in Singapore on November 18, an infectious diseases physician-scientist from SUNY Upstate Medical University New York, Prof. Stephen Thomas, explained the latest insights and future trends of the Sars-CoV-2 disease.
He explained that SARS-CoV-2 spike protein plays a key role in infection. “If we can prevent SARS-CoV-2 from binding to target cells, we may be able to reduce viral replication and prevent or attenuate clinical disease,” Prof. Thomas said during his presentation at 2023 APSR’s symposium held at Suntec Singapore Convention Center on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.
COVID-19 created public health burdens as the respiratory disease is capable of causing severe disease and death across diverse populations. It is also capable of causing prolonged and disabling clinical syndromes and stresses the healthcare system; such as the surge of COVID-19 cases and less capacity for non-COVID-19 cases.
Previously, during the discussion held by Pfizer on Friday, Nov. 17, at Conrad Centennial Singapore, experts collectively said that the highly contagious respiratory disease still poses health threats. Not only does it show mild symptoms the majority of the public is already aware of, such as cough, difficulty breathing, fever/ chills, muscle or body aches, vomiting or diarrhea, etc., but it may also lead to severe COVID-19 and Long Covid. People with comorbidities or certain chronic diseases have a higher risk for severe COVID.
According to the CDC, age above 50 years is the strongest risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes, with the risk of more severe outcomes increasing with age above 65 years.
Covid-19 Medication and Vaccination
During the pandemic, Covid-19 medication was given under an emergency permit, in addition to prevention with vaccination, to reduce the risks of severe symptoms and prevent Long Covid. According to data presented by Prof. Thomas, treatment with metformin reduced Long Covid incidence by about 41% in outpatient treatment for COVID and incidence of post-Covid conditions over 10 months (Covid-out).
In today’s COVID-19 mitigation, therefore, Prof. Stephen Thomas urged assessment, diagnosis, engaging specialists, coordinating and facilitating, reassuring, and preparing for the long haul.
In addition, Covid-19 vaccination is still highly effective, since all vaccine platforms aim to generate an immune response to the spike protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, there are several factors impacting COVID-19 vaccine performance, such as technology, age group, comorbidities, time since the last vaccination, circulating variants, and outcome being measured.