Could There Be a Cure for the Coronavirus?

Dr. Eric Salazar, Courtesy of: houstonchronicle.com

Dr. Eric Salazar, Courtesy of: houstonchronicle.com

Misha Hashemi, Staff Writer

   Currently, schools across the globe have closed their doors due to the coronavirus, opting to switch to remote learning, such as West High. Health officials are scrambling to find a cure. But there is hope: Houston Methodist Hospital’s Dr. Eric Salazar, an assistant professor of pathology and genomic medicine, is testing a treatment that uses survivors of COVID-19’s blood plasma in order to fight the infection. 

   Firstly, what is the coronavirus, and how is it caused? “Coronavirus disease 2019”, or “COVID-19”, is a respiratory disease spreading from person-to-person. The CDC has classified it as a pandemic, or a global outbreak of disease. It has a wide array of symptoms: cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. It spreads through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze or if someone touches a surface with the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. 

  Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and White House advisor, says, “The ultimate solution to a virus that might be coming back would be a vaccine, the same way a vaccine for other diseases that were scourges in the past that now we don’t even worry about.” Could Houston Methodist Hospital be on the right track to accomplishing just this? 

   Their idea is to use antibodies that have been built up within the blood of those who had the virus and recovered. Dr. Salazar and his team are supervising the treatment and transfusing the recovered patients’ plasma into critically-ill patients’ bodies.

   Dr. Salazar says, “Convalescent serum therapy could be a vital treatment route, because, unfortunately, there is relatively little to offer many patients except supportive care—and the ongoing clinical trials are going to take a while. We don’t have that much time.”

   While we are out of school, we should continue to do our part in not potentially spreading this disease to the immunocompromised, as it can be fatal. We can protect ourselves and others by washing our hands frequently, avoiding touching our faces, and avoiding close contact with those who are unwell.