Covid-19, Pharmacy

The diverse aspects of Pharmacy in post-COVID era: An introspection

Introduction:

While reflecting on the healthcare system, maximum attention is given to the doctors and nurses, as they are the frontline workers of healthcare system; however, the pharmacists play a huge role as the backbone of this system. Misconceptions still do a round on the role of pharmacists and so, this blog is aims at putting light on the true or the real responsibility of a pharmacist. The primary role of a pharmacist is not only to coordinate the complete medication regimen but also to suggest methods of taking prescribed medicines precisely and effectually, discuss safety of the medication, manage probable side effects and assist in managing the chronic health condition. A large part of the pharmacists belongs to the community where they are actually a quick-to-reach resource in this present situation. In December 2019, there has been an outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, that initially affected the Wuhan city of China but gradually affected the whole world. Later, the World health organization has declared SARS-CoV-2 pandemic because of public health emergencies and international concern. The contact from human-to-human through respiratory droplets lead to a course of infection.

Role of community pharmacist:

Community pharmacists play prime role in the prevention and maintenance of infectious disease. The following steps are advised and followed in order to build up a pharmacist’s team to fight against the epidemic situation. For any kind of social upgradation, the first step has always been to be updated about the condition. Upgraded information helps to monitor a situation and anticipate the need. Reliable sources from various verified websites are being used to supervise the recent information of the situation. Next comes the preparation of the troops which should be done keeping in mind that the duties should be in alternative basis and all maintain a particular protocol to serve the COVID patients. The pharmacists should be aware of the local and community emergency healthcare planning and the suppliers to manage in case of shortages. Managing a contact list that should be available when needed lies on priority. Regular contact with the staffs, how they are managing the situation, what are the new interventions should be addressed by the supervisors. It is also imperious that the pharmacy is not contributing in the transmission of the virus and breaking the stigma to implement the preventive measures properly. Continuous education, additional precautions, clear instructions and updated policies shall be made to avoid confusion.

Psychological aspects and the stigma:

So far, the profession has been effective, focused, collaborative, and integrated. These, altogether, help the profession to overcome any kind of the challenge that the society is going through. Population based approaches and quality improvement are everyday practice. Two major issues have been identified that should be considered beforehand. One is to provide psychological support followed by the next that is mass awareness. Studies has shown that the trauma of a disease is more endangering that the disease itself, in some cases. This can be achieved by small campaigns by the pharmacists in the hospital premises or personally. The team of pharmacists should focus to stop racism as well as reduce the social stigma amongst people. There has been a widespread use of phrases such as “victim”, “Covid family” and so on which give rise to nothing but pseudo-awareness. Awareness in a mass of people or in the community is attained by amplifying positive and hopeful stories or images by local experienced people who, either recovered from the disease or has supported the family or their loved ones. Another enormous job that is specifically done by the scientists and followed by the pharmacists is to contribute in the drug discovery process. Starting from the research, development, synthesis, reporting and new drug application submission, the cosmic role of pharmacists is inestimable. There has been a great acceptance of Hydroxychloroquine and some retroviral drugs in Corona virus treatment; however, pharmacists and scientists are heading toward a permanent solution for this through vaccine and Remdesivir. The later is already in the trial and the world is eagerly waiting for the groundbreaking news.

Personalized medicine and network pharmacology:

Although, a drug development process takes 10-15 years, but short-term studies are followed during a pervasive condition. As the regulatory proceedings are compact when it comes to human clinical trial, however, the scientists are trying at best to accelerate the process swiftly. Another aspect is pharmacogenetics or personalized medicine which deals with genetically variable response of the drug. Pharmacists play a central role when it comes to delivering the pharmacogenetic medicine in the community. Currently, with the growing industry of artificial intelligence and network pharmacology, scientists are considering the dominant paradigm of the concept of drug discovery through ligand-based drug development. Polypharmacology or network pharmacology, both have consequential implication in the management of safety and efficacy of the drug molecule. To develop a molecule, during a pandemic situation presently the world is facing, efficacy should be highly considerable. Apart from the traditional way, network pharmacology offers multi disease targets which, therefore, allows to decode several probable molecular mechanisms involved in the pathway through a “network”. How diseases are interrelated or how can a target be identified through several other targets is precisely elucidated by this approach.

Bioterrorism, medical pluralism and artificial intelligence approach in digital phenotyping:

The symbolic programming approach or artificial intelligence (AI) uses computable ways to solve problems i.e. different aspects of drug interactions, therapy monitoring, and selection of drug formulae. It almost mimics the human cognition by computers. Thus, evolution and implementation of the technologies have drastically improved the healthcare system. Along with AI, digital phenotyping or evidence based therapeutic intervention has become prime aspect in clinical care. Different high quality software, even through smartphones are used to detect and manage diseases which has definitely decreased the onset and exaggeration of disease. In the present situation, diverse aspects of Corona virus came up among which, bioterrorism is one requisite factor. Usually, naturally occurring diseases provide valuable lessons to let the world prepare for the similar outbreaks. However, this might be used as a biological weapon too. The thin line between naturally surfacing infection and bioterrorism is certainly used as a great opportunity by the arsonists. SARS-associated coronavirus, being immensely contagious, has several characteristics to become a biological weapon. Although, late identification makes it difficult to control the spread, pharmacists and the other healthcare personnel, through adequate education are continuously trying to cop up with the situation. In case of any pandemic situation, scientists, doctors and other healthcare professionals, primarily look for the complementary medicine i.e. known as pluralism. Pluralism is nothing new but re-emergence of this in a prevalent situation, it becomes the prime choice.

Conclusion:

To conclude, healthcare policies are made upon the decisions, plans, and actions that are tackled to attain the healthcare goals and the medical needs of the society. The policies also target the future visions and build harmony in people. As far the public health is concerned, the disease is of utmost interest and pharmacists are dedicated to monitor health status, solve community health problems, diagnose and investigate health issues, and empower people.

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