Coronavirus mutates, and so does treatment.

ISLAMABAD -- While one-third of the global Covid-19 infections are because of the same variant of the coronavirus, the treatment of the disease has undergone a paradigm shift and it is now generally believed that a combination of antiviral medicines can be more effective against the dreaded virus, which has infected more than 672 million people and killed over 6.7m across the globe.

Moreover, the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine, which targets the original strain of the coronavirus and has shown an efficacy rate of more than 90 per cent in preventing Covid-19, is considered the best shield against the disease.

Prof Dr Javed Akram, a health expert and member of the scientific task force on Covid-19, told Dawn it had been observed over the years that people treated with a combination of antiviral medicines had recovered quicker as compared to others.

'As Covid-19 was a new virus for the globe, so initially any medicine that was supposed to be effective was declared treatment or allowed as an emergency use,' he said. 'Even chloroquine, a medication primarily used to prevent and treat malaria, was used to recover and avoid Covid-19. Later, a number of herbs were considered to be a treatment of the infection.'

'However, after a number of studies, it is now being considered that more than one antiviral medicine is better for the treatment of Covid-19. In Pakistan, a study titled 'Pakistan Pandemiced Clinical Trial in Coronavirus Treatment' was held at 13 centres and had a similar result,' he said.

Replying to a question, Dr Akram said that the XBB.1.5 Covid-19 subvariant - a new version of the Omicron variant - was sweeping through the United States, Canada, China and several other countries, and around 30 per cent of current infections were due to the same variant.

'It is too early to say that the new variant is more virulent, but it has been proved that it is more transmissible. Moreover, it is yet to be proved...

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