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The health sciences have taken on more relevance than ever in the social debate in the last two years, placing themselves as a priority issue in the lives of citizens. Unfortunately, a global pandemic caused a large part of society to realize not only the importance of research but how completely dependent we are on it.
Since the arrival of COVID-19, governments around the world, international health authorities and pharmaceutical laboratories have turned to research to fight the pandemic, making the development of an effective vaccine one of the great concerns worldwide. 2020.
Although the research of vaccines, capable of immunizing against new possible strains, is still in force, this year the scientific attention related to SARS-CoV-2 has focused, above all, on drugs, as evidenced by the clinical trial Solidarity of the World Health Organization (WHO), whose second phase included the participation of thousands of researchers in more than 600 hospitals in 52 countries.
Here are some of the medical news that were relevant throughout 2021.
New anti-COVID-19 drugs
Among the latest drugs approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are monoclonal antibodies: casirivimab / imdevima and regdanvimab, antivirals designed to be used during the early stages of infection.
Molnupiravir, meanwhile, is the first oral drug designed to treat symptomatic COVID-19 and, although it has already passed the filter of Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of the United Kingdom, is still under evaluation and pending approval by the European regulatory body.
Another of the most promising antivirals for which an authorization has been requested is Paxlovid developed by Pfizer and that, as the company has announced, in two of the three phases of clinical trials it has shown an 89% efficacy in reducing the risk of hospitalization and death of patients infected by COVID-19. If until now the therapies to fight the virus were based on intravenous monoclonal and antiviral antibodies, oral drugs are, without a doubt, the focus from which to innovate in the fight against the pandemic.
Emergency vaccines against COVID-19 approved by the WHO
Vaccines Covaxin Y Covishield were the last COVID-19 vaccines recently approved by WHO for emergency use and add to the list of validated vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech, Modern, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sinovac (CoronaVac) Y Sinopharm.
The objective of this list made by the international organization is to increase the availability of vaccines, medicines and diagnostic means for emergency situations without avoiding the rigorous criteria of safety, efficacy and quality of these.
The approval procedure includes a rigorous evaluation of data from advanced phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials, other substantial data on safety, efficacy and quality, and a risk management plan.
After scrutiny by independent experts, and WHO teams reviewing the current body of evidence for the vaccine under review, its use monitoring plans and subsequent curricula, this list of vaccines contributes to improving the supply in those countries that have not received sufficient vaccines.
The first childhood vaccine against malaria
Apart from COVID-19, the vaccine that has garnered international attention this year is RTS, the first antimalarial injection for children recommended by the WHO. Based on the results of an experimental program responsible for vaccinating more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi since 2019, the international body gave its approval last October to protect vulnerable children in Sub-Saharan Africa and other regions with medium and high rates of vector transmission Plasmodium falciparum.
Although chloroquine began to be marketed in 1945, and since then this antimalarial drug has prevented and cured thousands of patients, malaria, one of the oldest known infections, remains the leading cause of childhood illness and death in the world. Sub-Saharan Africa, being responsible annually for the deaths of more than 260,000 African children under the age of five. According to the director general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, this pilot vaccine could be a turning point in the campaign against the lethal infection, whose fight has been stalled in recent years.
Pain and temperature receptors win the Nobel Prize in Medicine
Much of the scientific community was convinced that this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology would go towards research around COVID-19, but it was David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian, the discoverers of the temperature and touch receptors in the body, the award winners.
As the Nobel Assembly jury highlighted in a statement, when explaining the molecular basis for feeling heat, cold and mechanical force, fundamental to perceive the world around us and adapt to it, “the work of these scientists is responsible to unveil one of nature’s secrets. ” The discovery of the role of these structures constitutes, among many other applications, a key to understanding how the production of painful stimuli works and thus being able to advance in the research of analgesics for chronic conditions such as diabetic, post-herpetic or trigeminal neuropathy.
This content was originally published on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.
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