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Efforts to Handle Covid-19 Based on Scientific Studies

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By: Tri Wulandari )*

Covid-19 is a pandemic that requires serious attention and handling. The government also continues to optimize the handling of Covid-19 based on epidemiological scientific studies in order to achieve targets effectively and efficiently.

The Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) stated that efforts to handle Covid-19 must be based on scientific studies. The government is also monitoring the dynamics of the Corona virus in the field. Spokesperson for the Covid-19 vaccination of the Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, in a written statement said, this scientific approach creates room for improvisation so that handling tactics are faster and more efficient.

Nadia said that data-based policies will pay off. One of them is an effort to keep the bed occupancy rate (BOR) in Covid-19 hospitals to a minimum.

He explained that the burden at the hospital continued to be suppressed after hearing expert input by only treating patients with moderate to critical symptoms and comorbidities. In addition, severe symptoms and the risk of death for those who have not received the complete vaccine are also very high.

Experts say Omicron causes milder symptoms in people who have received the full vaccine. So the Ministry of Health focuses on hospitals for patients who really need treatment. Nadia said the government had also shortened the interval for the third or booster vaccine with the primary vaccine. The interval is a minimum of three months from the previous minimum of 6 months.

He encouraged the public to hasten complete and booster doses of vaccination. Vaccines themselves have been proven to be safe and effective in preventing the severity and risk of death from Covid-19.

On the other hand, Omicron is known to be inseparable from the body’s second line of defense. An important part of the immune system’s second line of defense, its T cells are highly effective in recognizing and attacking omicron variants, preventing most infections from progressing to critical illness.

The Omicron mutation helps it escape antibodies, the body’s first line of defense against infection. Researchers have speculated that other components of the immune response will still target the Omicron, but there is no evidence as of yet.

In a test-tube experiment, researchers in South Africa exposed copies of the T cell virus from volunteers who had received the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer/BioNTech or who had not been vaccinated but developed their own T cells after being infected with a previous version of the coronavirus.

Researchers reporting in the journal medRxiv reveal that although Omicron mutates extensively and reduces susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies, most T-cell responses, induced by vaccination or natural infection, cross-recognize the variant. T itself stands for Thymus, the organ where the final stage of cell development occurs.

The results also showed that the booster vaccine was able to reduce the risk of Omicron household transmission. The researchers analyzed transmission data collected from nearly 12,000 households with Omicron infection. Overall, there were 6,397 secondary infections in the week after the first infection at home.

After accounting for other risk factors, the fully vaccinated person-to-person spread of the virus at home was approximately 2.6 times higher for Omicron than Delta. Given the high prevalence of Omicron transmission at home, however, people who were vaccinated with a booster were 56% less likely to become infected than people who were vaccinated but did not receive a booster.

Overall, if people who have received the booster vaccine bring home the virus, they are less likely to transmit it than people who are not vaccinated or who have not been vaccinated but have not received the booster.

Currently, the number of Covid-19 sufferers undergoing hospitalization is relatively lower when compared to the delta variant. So that the hospital does not experience overcapacity. For medical therapy, the drug used for the previous variant is still effectively used for omicron. With these new facts, disciplined health protocols and vaccines will remain the main efforts to stop the spread of omicron.

This scientific study is of course very necessary to take steps and efficient policies to reduce the transmission of the Corona virus. Data such as the number of sufferers, the availability of beds and the number of people who have received the vaccine are data needed so that the government can implement measurable policies.

)* The author is a contributor to Pertiwi Institute

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