The COVID-19 Pandemic Must Revolutionize Modern Medicine - Professor Richard Lehman

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Must Revolutionize Modern Medicine - Professor Richard Lehman
The COVID-19 Pandemic Must Revolutionize Modern Medicine - Professor Richard Lehman

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The COVID-19 pandemic must revolutionize modern medicine - Professor Richard Lehman

A professor at the University of Birmingham has written a fascinating and daring column on which principles of modern health care need to be completely rethought right now.

The COVID-19 pandemic must revolutionize modern medicine - Professor Richard Lehman
The COVID-19 pandemic must revolutionize modern medicine - Professor Richard Lehman

Professor Richard Lehman / Photo: University of Birmingham

Richard Lehman, a columnist for BMJ Opinion magazine, which publishes the opinions of the opinion of the medical community, commented on the current and controversial issues related to COVID-19. With a fair amount of irony and literary references, the scientist declares that modern medicine and politics were not ready for many of the pandemic's challenges, so a lot of illogical and fatal decisions were made.

So, Lehman recalls the huge mistake of the Western authorities, which until recently avoided strict quarantine measures, introducing only some individual restrictions. In his opinion, this story should teach everyone to make more balanced decisions in such important issues and to trust less “stupid rules”.

“The good old way to protect yourself from infectious diseases is to keep infected people away. Old Testament lepers are a great example. From the very beginning, the rules of social distance seemed strange to me, and even more so the absence of quarantine, Lehman writes. - How did it happen that until recently people could fly in from epidemic areas and calmly walk the streets? Why, when it was known back in February that people could infect others for three weeks, they were allowed to return to work seven days after the onset of the disease?

The professor also admitted his mistake: at the end of March, he announced that testing for antibodies showing the presence or absence of IgG immunoglobulin has become simple and scalable. His findings were based on data from China, as well as the reliability of immunoglobulin tests, confirmed by 60 years of medical practice.

“The paradox is that although the SARS-CoV-2 virus was fully characterized within a month of its discovery, we still do not have a reliable way to test for both viruses and antibodies. The high-profile claims of test accuracy by some of the leading manufacturers have questioned the adequacy of governance in the industry,”the professor said, noting that doctors and scientists need to question both test results and diagnoses more often. It is also necessary to develop clearer criteria for testing accuracy.

“I feel there will be a lot of new materials for students soon,” said Richard Lehman.

The columnist also mentioned the importance of using plasma from recovered patients to treat COVID-19, fantasizing about creating "serum farms" in schools in the spirit of horror films. Lehman recalled that plasma can indeed save the lives of patients, but it can be used only after careful randomized studies.

Richard Lehman drew attention to a problem faced by patients in intensive care units: oneirphrenia, an acute psychotic state with realistic hallucinations. According to the scientist, this creates additional severe stress for patients, so researchers should look for effective drugs that relieve oneirophrenia.

The professor sarcastically rode through the mathematical models that guided public policy in decision-making at the very beginning of the pandemic. At the same time, the models proposed by mathematicians were constantly changing and supplemented with new data from different countries, increasing the scale of uncertainty. According to Lehmann, all mathematical models are flawed, but those who compose them should also be able to assess the boundaries of these errors.

Lehman considers the most important problem to treat patients with COVID-19 at home - in many countries, people with mild and moderate forms of the disease are recommended to be treated at home. The professor compared this situation with the 70s, when doctors had a very limited arsenal of tools for treating serious diseases.

According to him, the UK primary care system still lacks coordinated solutions for treating coronavirus patients at home. He also did not rule out that the scale of this problem is being simply hushed up at the moment.

“In March and April, I spent several difficult weeks trying to figure out what is happening in 2020 with covid patients being treated at home. How did they get access to health care and what did it consist of? Was anyone responsible for them at the national level? To what extent have their needs been met? I still don't know the answers,”Lehman wrote.

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