Panama is nearing six weeks of quarantine. The impact of rigorous confinement has been favorable, because it managed to flatten the epidemiological increase of cases and lowered spread the first wave of infections in time, allowing the health system to meet the demand for seriously ill patients in intensive care units and rooms (ICU), without exceeding their capacity.
It has also been possible to reduce the effective transmission rate for each infected to levels of suppression (Rt 10-14 days post-symptoms), to the deficiency in the nasopharyngeal swab technique and to the detection of degraded genetic fragments of a virus. not viable (not laboratory cultivable), probably not even contagious anymore. In fact, many of these recovered patients have donated plasma for administration in seriously ill patients, with encouraging preliminary results,
Finally, the development of more than 80 candidate vaccines, the majority in the preclinical phase, but at least 7 in the incipient stages of human screening, indicates confidence in the scientific community on effective prevention by immunization. A myriad of genetic engineering modalities have been put in place for the manufacture of these vaccines, from innovative notions such as DNA or messenger RNA injections, use of non-pathogenic viral vectors to insert SARS-CoV-2 antigens, complete attenuated virions, or inactivated, until purification of the S protein subunits (spike protein) that the coronavirus uses to bind to the receptor (ACE2) of the respiratory mucosa. Despite optimism, however, the safety of these biological products should be thoroughly investigated in well-conducted ethical trials,
Stay strong! The quarantine will soon end, although it will be a planned, gradual and phased process of economic and social opening. We must be careful, responsible and supportive so that there is no need to reverse flexibility. Economic activity will surely be resurrected, but not the unfortunate death of hundreds of compatriots. I appeal to a new and better normality in 2021. Virtual hug for all.