Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

COVID-19 treatment destroys viral particles, patients develops stronger immunity- Virologist

Against the backdrop that some Coronavirus patients who were treated for the global pandemic were re-infected in some countries, expert say, such patient would rather develop strong immunity against the virus.

A Professor of Medical Virology at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, Sunday Omilabu said
once the viral particles are destroyed, there will be repairs in the body system and re-infection will not occur.

He said, Coronavirus survivors can regain their loss of affected organs once they re­cover fully as the immunity de­veloped will destroy the viral parti­cles.

According to Omilabu, "once the viral particles are destroyed, then there will be repairs and everything will normalise. It means that one has developed adequate immunity so the issue of being re-infected is very remote. And that’s why be­fore the individual is discharged, we must make sure that he tested negative. On two consecutive oc­casions, before the individual is finally discharged. 

"And once you are discharged, it shows that you have adequate immunity to fight any remnant virus. So the immu­nity is always very adequate be­fore one gets discharged so there is no cause for any alarm, and no fear of re-infection."

On complications, Omilabu told Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN, Lagos in an online interview that, there is no possibility of devel­oping any complication, adding that, once an individual is cleared of the virus, he is cleared, stressing that there is no record of any complication for a COVID-19 survivor, once one is recovered, he is recovered fully with a strong immunity.
According World Health Organization, WHO, 
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to morw severe diseases such as Middle East, MERS-CoV, and
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS-CoV. A novel coronavirus, nCoV is a new strain that has not been previous identified in human.
The infectious disease is transmitted by coughing, sneezing, close personal contact such as touching and shaking of hands, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, eyes. It is rarely faecal contamination. 

Omilabu advised that whenever one is feeling unwell, he should go to the nearest hospital for proper examination, observation and test instead of resorting to self medication which may not end well.
He said, although Malaria and COVID-19 has same symptoms and it is common knowledge that most people with malaria treat themselves at home for the fear of not being mistaken as having Coronavirus, they may not speak out or seek medical attention, Omilabu warns that Nigerians should avoid self medication in order to avert unexpected consequences.

According to him, "we should stop self medication. Once we are feeling unwell especially at this period, we should go to the nearest healthcare centre. Let the healthcare givers carry out their observations; let them tell us what to do. They can easily test to ascertain if it is malaria or if it is something combined with malaria, we must stop self medication to avoid unexpected calamities."

Omilabu revealed that some people may have COVID-19 without showing signs and symptoms stating that, " when we have so many traveler's from Europe, United States of America, China and all those countries where there have been reported and confirmed cases of outbreak of COVID-19 disease already in Nigeria and many of them are carrying the virus.
"There is possibility for us having the community transmission and that’s why it’s more important that we isolate ourselves, we maintain social distancing to prevent possibly acquisition of the virus from those individuals."
Omilabu added that, "many people may have the virus without showing signs and symptoms. Already they are in our communities so we need to be very careful to avoid contracting the virus."

Omilabu who is also an Adjunct Professor of Medical Virology at Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, NIMR Lagos emphasized the need for Nigerians to stay away from crowd and imbibe social distancing in order not to get infected.
He said, "we need to stay away from crowd so that we don’t get infected. Its been shown that many people don’t show signs and symptoms and they still transmit the virus so that is why it is important we stay away from crowd and that is why there is a lockdown so that we confine ourselves to our own houses and we should think outside the box to find some other engagements that we can do in our own houses, in our own environment that will be better for us."
On the production of vaccine, Omilabu said that to produce vaccines, a lot of resources is required to achieve desired results in its development.
According to the Professor, "there’s no enabling environment. If you want to develop a vaccine you need a lot of resources. And, of course, there must be enough funds to provide all these."

On the efficacy of herbs on the treatment of Coronavirus Omilabu said, " a number of studies have been carried out on our local herbs, and have been seen to have proven efficacy against micro-bio infections including viruses. 
"So we know we have plants materials that have good anti-viral content but a lot has to be done by way of testing the efficacy of the herbs on the virus particles to really establish that the plant extract has the potent materials to destroy the virus particles."

He said, Nigerians should still be cautious to take only local herbs and herbal products licensed by National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC.
According to him, it is only herbs and herbal products with NAFDAC labels that Nigerians can be sure will not be poisonous or cause organ damage.



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