Preventing The Spread of COVID-19
Preventive measures are the current strategy to limit the spread of cases. Because an epidemic will increase as long as R0 (a measurement of how a contagion spreads) is greater than 1 (COVID-19 is 2.2), control measures must focus on reducing the value to less than 1.
Preventive strategies are focused on the isolation of patients and careful infection control, including appropriate measures to be adopted during the diagnosis and the provision of clinical care to an infected patient. For instance, droplet, contact, and airborne precautions should be adopted during specimen collection, and sputum induction should be avoided.
The WHO and other organizations have issued the following general recommendations:
- Avoid close contact with subjects suffering from acute respiratory infections.
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after contact with infected people or their environment.
- Avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
- People with symptoms of acute airway infection should keep their distance, cover coughs or sneezes with disposable tissues or clothes and wash their hands.
- Strengthen, in particular, in emergency medicine departments, the application of strict hygiene measures for the prevention and control of infections.
- Individuals that are immunocompromised should avoid public gatherings.
The most important strategy for the populous to undertake is to frequently wash their hands and use portable hand sanitizer and avoid contact with their face and mouth after interacting with a possibly contaminated environment.
Healthcare workers caring for infected individuals should utilize contact and airborne precautions to include PPE such as N95 or FFP3 masks, eye protection, gowns, and gloves to prevent transmission of the pathogen.
Ongoing Scientific Research on COVID-19
Meanwhile, scientific research is growing to develop a coronavirus vaccine. In recent days, China has announced the first animal tests, and researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia have also announced that, after completing the three-week in vitro study, they are moving on to animal testing. Furthermore, in the U.S., the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has announced that a phase 1 trial has begun for a novel coronavirus immunization in Washington state.