This is a question I’ve been asking myself over and over again recently. How this all came to be that the first drug that seems to be the first treatment to trial is an anti-malarial drug? Well, here is a non-scientific, not fact-based logic exercise to try to resolve the mistery.
We know the standard procedure for discovering drugs is to get a sort of fingerprint of the virus. In this case this is a spike protein recombinant. Basically a purified spike protein caharacteristic of this virus is what is used. These purified proteins are non-infectious in nature and used to check what the reaction the virus will have. E.g Hydroxychloroquine sulfate 200mg admnisitered in X quantity kill the virus in the lab. There are thousands of possible drug formulations if not more that you can try for effectiveness. Here what limits you is time,drug availability and in any scientific context time-to-results (which is a combination between researching, preparing, experimenting, writing about the findins and if you're lucky, repeating the experiment before publishing it.) All the above are limited, so you start with your best guess. Usually, what others have found and published in literature to be effective and other researchers have validated. Now, again we still have quite some drugs before we decide which ones are the best candidates.
Following that procedure, or even by just following some Meds gut feeling an anti-malarial is not the first thing that comes to mind.
And if you follow that procedure, to me, there seems to be a jump between X and Y,
So here is a call for the community. If anyone has more information, can you send it to me or post it somewhere I can see it? I’m doing research to make this post more complete.
The best email is isaac [at] mammbo [dot] com - (yes, it is Mammbo with double M and not Mambo).
While I’m working on finding an explanation (or someone else’s help me find one) which make it more coherent I’m going to explain what would I have done.
At a high level anti-malarials combat Malaria. Malaria is caused by parasites in your blood. These parasites get to your blood because ofthe bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
No need to say then Malaria should not exist anymore and there are some initiatives already going to stop the spread. Since the vector for malaria is fairly large (a mosquito) we can make use for example sterile male mosquitoes to deem the population and decrease the number of cases to (hopefully) 0 and therefore erradicate the illness. We could do more though, we could inbreed a mosquitto species like this one with a more aggressive species (or select the most aggressive by natural selection and inbreed them) and make them aggresive against other males. In my opinion, the above would save us a long time in the fight.
However, with viruses this is another story. Viruses can spread in many - many - many ways. And they are difficult to combat because the size of the virus is in orders of magnitude smaller.
Also, since there are so many viruses, there are multiple ways they can get spread and continue being spred. Without getting too technical here, some viruses can penetrate lipidic membranes and reproduce, e.g. ebola can cause disease by skin contact. Also some viruses use other agents to infect as many possible cells as possible.
This is to say, these are very different and have different mechanics both of transmission and of reproduction. Also the onset time is different.
From a standalone point of view, here’s my take. Despite Hydrochloroquine sulfate and remdesivir being the 2 most popular treatments for COVID19(initially developed for Malaria and Ebola respectively) I think this is the wrong approach.
I believe in any case we should see how this virus behaves and compare that to the time of incubation for viruses, parasites, bacteria and other. The closest incubation period in the same range for each of the well known illnesses
For a bacterial infection is: - Chickenpox 10-21 days - Fifth disease 4-14 days …
Worms - Roundworms 4-16 days (with remarkable similar …
Then we should look at the median time syntoms take until a person with a clinical manifestation requires hospitalization. For SARS-CoV-2 that is around 1.2 days.
This yields a very astounding truth - it doesn’t resemble any of the ones we have used to model this.