Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and the Supreme Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) predict that the number of cases of COVID-19 infection will reach its limit. peak in Spain at the end of November, the number of hospitalizations will continue to rise until early December, and the number of deaths until early 2021.
Researchers have published a study in which, based on a computational model, they simulate what the result of early use of antiviral drugs against covid-19, as soon as they are available in pharmacies, and their impact on the development of the pandemic in our country, the UPV said in a statement.
The paper, published in the journal Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, concludes that antiviral drugs can significantly reduce the incidence of the virus and prevent the collapse of the healthcare system.
Antiviral drugs to prevent transmission
“Until an effective vaccine is found, safety precautions must continue to be strictly adhered to, but in addition, using appropriate antiviral drugs may be a good option to relieve symptoms, control severity and prevent transmission,” explains Jose. Maria Benlloh, CSIC Research Professor and Director of the Institute for Molecular Imaging Instruments (I3M), a joint center of the Polytechnic University of Valencia and CSIC.
During the study, the researchers developed computational model of a random network study the dynamics of covid-19 transmission in Spain and then apply it to simulations of different scenarios in which effective, affordable and low-cost antiviral drugs will be available.
“Fortunately, there are many antiviral drug candidates identified by various research groups around the world that can meet what we have called democratic conditions that would allow universal access to these drugs,” Benlloh says.
In the course of the study, the researchers studied that evolution of the pandemic curve in four different scenarios, and in the first they mimic the spread of the virus without having a generic antiviral drug, what is the current situation.
In this case, the numbers provided by the computational model show that the number of infections will continue to rise through November until it peaks by the end of this month, the number of hospitalizations will also continue to rise until the first days of December, and the number of covid deaths until early 2021 …
“These simulations are carried out in month june and unfortunately reality confirms our results, ”says Rafael Villanueva, Research Fellow at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Mathematics (IMM) at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
Villanueva warns that if the trend continues in the last days of this month and early December, the numbers shown by the model are “worrisome” and therefore he calls for “everyone’s responsibility” from all areas to take action to avoid reaching those numbers …
In the study, a team of researchers from UPV and CSIC also modeled the incidence of the virus, with antiviral drugs available, from different dates and at different transmission rates.
In the first scenario, in which the percentage of people with symptoms is low (15%) and the effectiveness of the antiviral drug is also low (35%), the model shows: significant reduction of more than 50% people hospitalized in peak cases.
In addition, while the effectiveness of the antiviral agent significantly reduces the number of hospitalizations, it also delays by a maximum of about 15 days and hence saturation of the health care system adds work.
In the second scenario an increase in the transmission rate reduces the effect of antiviral drugs, with a higher risk of hospital oversaturation, and third, the researchers simulate a scenario with antiviral drug availability in the short term.
“In this case, the model allows us to test the importance of having antiviral drugs available in pharmacies as soon as possible, because any delay can reduce their effect, even to the point of loss of effectiveness,” Benlloh says.
Thus, the computational model developed by IMM-UPV shows that the use of effective antiviral drugs will help reduce the impact on health resources and human lives that has occurred so far.
In fact, it concludes that even by using ineffective antivirals and reporting illness to a small percentage of our contacts, significant reductions in hospital admissions could be achieved, avoiding more saturation of the public health system.
Vitamin D benefits
CSIC researcher Jose Maria Benlloh also highlights the importance of immunomodulators such as vitamin D, which he says “can have the same effect as direct antiviral drugs, helping to quickly reduce viral load in all those infected by stopping the chain of infection. infection and therefore reduce the peak of the second wave. ”
As Benlloh explains, Queen sofia hospital in Cordoba has already conducted a pilot clinical trial of vitamin D, “very promising in this regard,” and believes that “it would be very convenient to raise vitamin D levels in the entire Spanish population.”