A team of Chinese researchers unveiled the results of their study last week that looked at how temperature and humidity may affect the transmission of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. It showed that coronavirus transmission rates decline with increased temperatures and humidity. This may explain why there appear to be few reports of local COVID-19 transmissions in places like Pakistan. Most of the known coronavirus cases in Pakistan appear to be those of the people who have come into the country from cold, dry places like northern Iran where the pandemic is raging. The rate of local transmission in Pakistan is not zero but relatively low.
At the same time, small-scale clinical studies in China and France are indicating that chloroquine (Resochin) and its variant hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are effective in treating coronavirus patients. Both of these drugs are manufactured in Pakistan. These developments are showing light at the end of the tunnel.
|COVID-16 Transmission Rates Vs Temperature and Humidity|
New Chinese Study:
The research team included Jingyuan Wang, Kai Feng, Weifeng Lv of Beihang University, and Ke Tang from Tsinghua University. They studied 100 different Chinese cities that each reported more than 40 cases of COVID-19 from Jan. 21 to 23, 2020.
“In the early dates of the outbreaks, countries with relatively lower air temperature and lower humidity (e.g. Korea, Japan and Iran) saw severe outbreaks than warmer and more humid countries (e.g. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand) do," the researchers wrote.
Here's an excerpt from the abstract published by the team:
"After estimating the serial interval of COVID-19 from 105 pairs of the virus carrier and the infected, we calculate the daily effective reproductive number, R, for each of all 100 Chinese cities with more than 40 cases. Using the daily R values from January 21 to 23, 2020 as proxies of non-intervened transmission intensity, we find, under a linear regression framework for 100 Chinese cities, high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19, respectively, even after controlling for population density and GDP per capita of cities. One degree Celsius increase in temperature and one percent increase in relative humidity lower R by 0.0383 and 0.0224, respectively. This result is consistent with the fact that the high temperature and high humidity significantly reduce the transmission of influenza. It indicates that the arrival of summer and rainy season in the northern hemisphere can effectively reduce the transmission of the COVID-19."
Some experts are pointing to the increased amount of UV rays from the sun the Northern Hemisphere will be subject to this time of year as a factor that could slow the virus, according to a story in AccuWeather.
|Infections Rate Drop With Higher Temp and Humidity. Source: JP Morgan|
Possible Treatments For COVID-19 Patients:
Recently, Chinese research (reported in Clinical Trials Arena) reported that “data from the drug’s [chloroquine] studies showed ‘certain curative effect’ with ‘fairly good efficacy’ … patients treated with chloroquine demonstrated a better drop in fever, improvement of lung CT images, and required a shorter time to recover compared to parallel groups. The percentage of patients with negative viral nucleic acid tests was also higher with the anti-malarial drug… Chloroquine has so far shown no obvious serious adverse reactions in more than 100 participants in the trials… Chloroquine was selected after several screening rounds of thousands of existing drugs. Chloroquine is undergoing further trials in more than ten hospitals in Beijing, Guangdong province and Hunnan province.”
|Resochin (chloroquine) made by Bayer Pakistan|
A small French study found only 25% of COVID19 patients who took it for 6 days still had the virus while 90% of those who had not taken it still had Covid-19.
|HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) Manufactured by Getz Pakistan|
Anti-Malarial and Antibiotic Combo:
A new French study by Philippe Gautret et al recently published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents has found early evidence that the combination of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a popular anti-malaria drug known under the trade name Plaqenuil, and antibiotic azithromycin (aka Zithromax or Azithrocin) could be effective in treating the COVID-19 coronavirus and reducing the duration of the virus in patients.
|French Study Results|
Economic Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic:
Service sector accounts for 50% of the world GDP and 54% of Pakistan's GDP. Social distancing will significantly impact the services, particularly retail, restaurants, travel, transport and education sectors. Imran Khan has expressed fear that the pandemic will devastate the economies of developing countries.
“My worry is poverty and hunger," Khan said. "The world community has to think of some sort of a debt write-off for countries like us, which are very vulnerable, at least that will help us in coping with (the coronavirus).”
Recent Chinese research is showing that hot and humid weather will significantly slow down transmission of coronavirus or COVID-19. An increase of just one degree Celsius and 1% relative humidity increase substantially lower the (Covid-19) virus’s transmission, says a study published on March 10, 2020 by Chinese researchers. At the same time, small-scale clinical studies in China and France are indicating that chloroquine and its variant hudroxychloroquine are effective in treating coronavirus patients. Both of these developments are showing light at the end of the tunnel.
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