National Doctors' Day is different around the world, with some celebrating in October, December, or February. The U.S. however, will celebrate on March 30th, a fitting time to celebrate the efforts of our Doctors that have undertaken a huge responsibility within the last year. They have always sacrificed their time and energy to ensure that the world is taken care of. But in the wake of Covid-19, doctors stepped up to the challenge to advance the medical field exponentially. The following are their findings so far.
As a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the medical field turned to the transfusion of convalescent plasma as a potential treatment. For over a century, passive antibody transfer has been used to treat respiratory infections: influenza in 1918 was met with this therapeutic approach. The emergency response to treat patients with Covid-19 became a retrospective study through a national registry. This streamlined data-collection system was monitored by an institutional review board, though limitations did arise from the program design. Nonetheless, researchers concluded that the transfusion of convalescent plasma with higher levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in infected patients was associated with a lower risk of death than the transfusion of plasma with low antibodies.
As of January, a report in Brazil emerged with information suggesting selection pressure on SARS-CoV-2 during convalescent plasma therapy might be associated with the emergence of viral variants, in which spike mutations occurred in the receptor-binding domain (RBD). This viral evolution may favor reinfections. The first case in Brazil, presenting the E484K spike mutation was associated with escape from neutralizing convalescent plasma antibodies. As a result of these variants evading immune defenses, new antibody therapies and vaccines may be needed. However, the urgency to uptake comprehensive prevention measures to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission should not rely on vaccinations alone. It's still important to follow preemptive actions such as wearing a mask and social distancing.
Two developed vaccines are Pfizer and BioNTech's BNT162b2 and Moderna's mRNA-1273. Research reveals the Pfizer vaccine has an efficacy of 95% in people over the age of 16 while the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective in people over the age of 18. Pfizer is administered in two doses of 30 micrograms 21 days apart and Moderna delivers two doses of 100 micrograms 28 days apart. Both come with possible systemic side effects such as headache, fatigue, and muscle pain. The question remains whether the neutralization against the viral mutations will decline with the vaccine as was shown in convalescent plasma treatments. There is also no evidence to show these vaccines protect against asymptomatic infection and transmission to unvaccinated people.
Still, this dedication to research and effort to ensure the safety and health of humanity is deserving of a thank you on National Doctors' Day. You have time within the next month to show your appreciation to your doctor. Though scheduling your annual physical during this time may be a little difficult to accommodate, you can still show up for your doctor in other ways. Practice a healthy lifestyle by hydrating, eating nutritious meals, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep. Doctors find pleasure in alleviating your problems, but they also like to see their patients healthy, now more than ever. But, if you require in-person visits with the doctor, this is the perfect time to offer a gift. It will be a wonderful surprise for these care providers to receive a bit of care in return. Prescribe your doctor hydration with a reusable water bottle, get them a gift card to a shoe store (because doctors are on their feet for long periods of the day), or purchase facemasks on this site. For every purchase of any item on our site, we donate masks to Pomona Valley Hospital.
If you want to go above and beyond for National Doctors' Day, nominate a doctor you know for an award. As a patient or family member of a patient, you can nominate your doctor for their excellence as a clinician. Or perhaps the doctor you know volunteers in a community organization offering relief to underserved populations (there are awards for such aid). There are also awards in educational services for students that want to nominate their instructors and mentors.
(Disclaimer: The purpose of this excerpt is to share information, and in no way constitutes facts that should influence your health decisions. The materials linked here are based on research available at the time of this publication and may be subject to change. These public health studies are open access for your discretion.)