Volume 6, Issue 1

  • 2021, July

    review

    Strategies and Challenges in the Development of Coronavirus Disease-2019 VaccineOpen Access

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    Abstract [+]

    The novel coronavirus infection (coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19)) emerged from Wuhan in the Hubei Province of China in late 2019. Millions of people were infected with COVID-19 pandemic due to the long incubation period of the virus inside the human body and the dearth of available treatments or vaccines. High transmission rates created havoc, which highlighted the urgent need for effective interventions to stop the spread and clinical impact of the virus on patients and populations. Previous research on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) provides information on vaccination strategies that could inform how governments approach the elimination of this novel coronavirus. Numerous efforts have been made to develop vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and SARS. The spike glycoprotein or S protein is the critical target for most of the drugs and vaccines against coronavirus. The virus uses the spike (S) protein for entering the host cell, by interacting
    with the receptor called angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2). Various vaccine platforms are available such as nucleic acid vaccine, protein-based vaccines, virus-vectored vaccines and live or attenuated vaccines, with each having their advantages and disadvantages. This review focuses on the overview of different vaccine candidates used, those currently in development, and the challenges encountered while developing effective vaccines.
    Keywords
    SARS-CoV-2; Vaccine development; Clinical trials.


  • 2021, August

    original research

    Using MapMCDA Tool for the Spatial Epidemiology of Animal Rabies in Morocco: How to Improve the Rationality of a Qualitative Risk AssessmentOpen Access

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    Objective
    The objective behind this article is to better characterize spatial distribution of animal rabies in Morocco through qualitative risk assessment framework. In Morocco, the occurrence of the disease is neither clearly distributed nor complete. Therefore, risk assessment methods become strongly recommended to cope with distorted geographic patterns.
    Methods
    Based on data collection set from 168 counties, qualitative changes on spatial epidemiology of rabies were analysed by mapMCDA tool covering a period from 2004 to 2017 and including information on determinants of the geographic distribution of animal rabies in Morocco defined in previous work.
    Results
    To validate the risk assessment model, the results were compared to rabies cases reported during the study period. The clustering of the rabies risk estimates is decisive and highly reliable. A significant alignment was shown between the very high and high-risk estimates.
    Conclusion
    This study is the first attempt that has been made for using MapMCDA for rabies. For a normative process aiming to avoid subjectivity related to expert-opinions, authors suggest conducting initially a statistical multiple component analysis that will provide quantified estimates of risk factors. It would be an advisable decision-making tool that helps to design oriented surveillance and allows better referral of actions to control the disease.
    Keywords
    Animal rabies; Canine rabies; Spatial epidemiology; Qualitative risk assessment; MapMCDA; Veterinary science; Public health; Morocco.


  • 2021, September

    original research

    Factors Affecting Access to E-Learning during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic Among Rural-Based Pharmacy Students in Zambia: A Qualitative StudyOpen Access

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    Background
    The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has negatively affected the education sector globally. This has resulted in learning institutions adopting e-learning techniques. E-learning implementation in higher education continues to gain prominence in both developed and developing countries. Most universities are exploring different ways of using information and
    communications technology (ICT). However, ICT remains a challenge more especially for students who come from rural areas.
    Aim
    This study was aimed at exploring the factors that affect access to e-learning among rural-based pharmacy students in Zambia.
    Methods
    A qualitative case study was conducted among ten (10) purposively sampled pharmacy students at the University of Zambia. The study participants were from the Manying, a district of North-Western Province, the Sinda district of Eastern Province, the Nalolo district of Western Province, the Chipili district of Luapula Province and the Mbala district of Northern Province. Semistructured interviews were used to collect data from the respondents. Data were analyzed using the framework analysis. The sociodemographic characteristics indicate that ten (10) respondents were drawn from Zambia’s five (5) provinces. Six qualitative themes were generated these included devices used for e-learning; the effectiveness of the devices; student performance; internet connectivity; and electrification of the houses. Key findings suggest that the most commonly used device was a smartphone, which posed challenges to effective learner participation in e-learning. Poor internet connectivity, non-electrification of students’ houses, electricity outages, and costs-associated with internet use negatively affected students in accessing online learning and could adversely affect their academic activities and performance.
    Conclusion
    The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected access to e-learning among rural pharmacy students in Zambia. The implications of the challenges faced by the rural pharmacy students are that their academic activities and performance were negatively affected. Therefore, this posed a threat to the rights to universal access to education of the rural students who were mostly venerable.
    Keywords
    Academic performance; COVID-19; Coronavirus disease; E-Learning; Online learning; Pandemic; Pharmacy students.


  • 2021, October

    narrative review

    A Review of the Antiviral Activity of Ivermectin and Its Use in the Treatment of Coronavirus Disease-2019Open Access

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    Background
    The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) originated in China and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11th March 2020. Since its emergence in December 2019, worldwide, we have developed preventive vaccines but no definitive treatment directed at the virus itself. Currently, the treatments for COVID-19 include symptomatic treatments, supportive therapy, antiviral drugs, immunotherapy and cellular therapy. However, most of the treatments are still under investigation and development and treatment guidelines vary according to countries or regions. Ivermectin is one of the drugs that are being used as part of treatment guidelines in certain countries like the Republic of Peru. However, the WHO advices that ivermectin only be used in clinical trials.
    Aim
    The authors conducted this review to explore published studies on the possible therapeutic effects of ivermectin against active infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), a causative agent of COVID-19.
    Methods
    A literature search was conducted using Google Scholar, PubMed and EMBASE for articles published from 2010 to 2021. Search words used included ivermectin, antiviral, COVID-19, efficacy, safety, dosing, lower mortality rate, hospitalised patients and the Boolean operator ‘AND’.
    Results
    A few clinical trials have shown that ivermectin is safe for use in humans at specific doses and reduces the severity of the infection. Ivermectin was seen to reduce the signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 in some studies while others showed no significant reduction. However, more studies must be conducted to ascertain its use in treating COVID-19.
    Conclusion
    Since many clinical trials are being conducted on the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, full evidence will be used to support its use in humans. Currently, some countries that are using ivermectin for treating COVID-19 have reported it to be effective and reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the disease. Therefore, countries should collaborate and provide full evidence for the use of ivermectin in humans to manage COVID-19.
    Keywords
    Ivermectin; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Clinical trials; Antiviral.