Conference Coverage

Around the world in 24 hours: A snapshot of COVID’s global havoc



Treatment in the ICU

Matteo Bassetti, MD, with the University of Genoa (Italy), who was asked about when to use remdesivir in the intensive care unit and for how long, said, “In the majority of cases, 5 days is probably enough.” However, if there is high viremia, he said, physicians may choose to continue the regimen beyond 5 days. Data show it is important to prescribe this drug for patients with oxygen support in an early phase, within 10 days of the first symptoms, he added. “In the late phase, there is a very limited role for remdesivir, as we know that we are already out of the viremic phase.” He also emphasized that there is no role for hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir-ritonavir.

Breaking the chains of transmission

During the wrap-up session, former US CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, said, “We’re not even halfway through it” about the pandemic trajectory. “And we have to be very clear that the risk of explosive spread will not end with a vaccine.” He is now president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives.

Different parts of the world will have very different experiences, Dr. Frieden said, noting that Africa, where 4% of the population is older than 65, has a very different risk level than Europe and the United States, where 10%-20% of people are in older age groups.

“We need a one-two punch,” he noted, first preventing spread, and when it does happen, boxing it in. Mask wearing is essential. “States in the US that mandated universal mask-wearing experienced much more rapid declines (in cases) for every 5 days the mandate was in place.”

Michael Ryan, MD, executive director for the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, added, “We need to collectively recommit to winning this game. We know how to break the chains of transmission. We need recommitment to a scientific, societal, and political strategy, and an alliance – a contract – between those entities to try to move us forward.”

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