Fifth Ward Church of Christ Resource Center
The FWCOC Resource Center is a way for members to use their gifts and talents to serve God and mankind. All resources and activities listed on the site are provided FREE of charge to residents of the greater Houston area. If you are wondering how we can offer these services free, the answer lies at the heart of what we understand as God’s directive for our lives. "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10). The FWCOC Ministry In-Brief is our way of providing a profile of Ministries at Work.
The FWCOC Ministry In-Brief - Health and Wellness Ministry
COVID-19 Research-Based Awareness, Part V - Therapeutics and the COVID-19 “Season” of your Journey
Have you ever visited a wildlife park or refuge site where alligators are in – or not in – a controlled habitat within a larger ecosystem? There is a reason they put safety measures (rails, fences, signs, monitored trail areas, etc.) around such habitats, even though you can literally touch the wild animals. The animals can typically be viewed safely because the park personnel (rangers, researchers, guides) are trained to help visitors learn and understand them safely – would you want to go into an uncontrolled habitat and touch these predators without having a basic level of protection or guidance regarding the dangers? This may be an interesting introduction, but what do wild animals have to do with therapeutics, COVID-19, and the fight against infection by the virus? Everything.
Let’s use this same scenario, but switch the alligator habitat to COVID-19 “viral load” areas. Wearing a mask, social distancing, cleanliness, getting vaccinated, and avoiding large crowds are now analogous to being in an area with wild animals and being required to follow research-based rules and the guidance of the site personnel to stay safe. Which would you prefer, to stay safe or not?
It’s all about the levels of risks, the impacts of those risks, and what might happen if you contract COVID-19 – or get bitten by an alligator. In either case, you would need treatment (therapeutic options) to aid in your healing, especially if something unexpected occurs and a system, organ, tissue, or cellular component is impacted.
What are therapeutics and how can they be beneficial for COVID-19?
What are therapeutics? Merriam-Webster defines therapeutics as "of or relating to the treatment of disease or disorders by remedial agents or methods; having a beneficial effect on the body or mind; producing a useful or favorable result or effect." It is a straightforward definition and readily understood by most, but how, where, and when does it apply to COVID-19?
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have summarized the data on therapeutics across many clinical trials in order to determine the effective treatment options, and they have established the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel, which constantly reviews the most recent clinical data to provide up-to-date treatment recommendations for clinicians who are caring for patients with COVID-19.
According to researchers, two main processes are thought to drive the pathogenesis of COVID-19:
- Early in the course of the infection, the disease is primarily driven by replication of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
- Later in the course of infection, the disease is driven by an exaggerated immune/inflammatory response to the virus that leads to tissue damage.
Based on this understanding – as of March 31, 2021 – it is anticipated that antiviral therapies would have the greatest effect early in the course of the disease, while immunosuppressive/anti-inflammatory therapies are likely to be more beneficial in the later stages (Source: NIH.gov).
Several states have started to broaden vaccine eligibility to younger age groups in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If you have a vaccine that has a high effectiveness rate, does not mean new variants will totally diminish the vaccine. For example, if a vaccine has 94% or even 80% efficacy against the disease, you still vaccinate as many people as you can so you can stop the virus from replicating in a human host, which ultimately stops the spread.
The current FDA’s emergency use authorization (EUA) vaccines (mRNA and adenovirus vector platforms) state 100 percent efficacy against severe illness or death, but researchers continue to focus on therapeutics and ways to combat the disease because of emerging variants. Such extra precautions help to stem the illness and prevent long-term impacts on the body’s systems if you do happen to get infected and contract the disease. Just keep in mind that SARS-CoV-2 is a virus, not a bacteria, and physicians don’t prescribe antibiotics for viral infections, because they don’t work – you need specific therapeutics for viral infections.
The COVID-19 “season” of your journey, a way to reach new levels of understanding
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is not going anywhere; it is just being controlled. Researchers continue to review options for the future, which include genomic surveillance of variants in order to make research-based decisions. As governments and authorities are relaxing restrictions and as advanced transportation across continents continues, a good take-home message is that as long as there is a virus anywhere, there is a virus everywhere, and people around the world should continue to collaborate and provide full disclosure, regardless of consequences.
For the church, some traditions are being reviewed, and Christians have a chance to shift priorities and choose options that are more assignment-driven. We see things differently after going through certain experiences. Think about your experiences during the various phases of the current pandemic. Did you get a chance to see yourself in others at each stage? Did you criticize others for what they were going through, or did you try to see how you could improve after what you had experienced? Regardless of past decisions, the constant focus on COVID-19 has changed the mindsets of most of us, making us more aware of the natural world and its impact on us.
Some have wondered how, when Jesus returns, He could be seen or understood by all, since we are oceans apart. It is compelling how COVID-19 has been on everyone’s mind across the world, and whether or not you believe that there is a pandemic, you still know about COVID-19 and feel its impacts in a way that is beyond your control. In the same way, when Jesus returns, the entire world will know about it, whether they believe or not. It is curious how a pathogen can be so impactful, receive so much attention, and change so many lives. Perhaps COVID-19 has revealed the depth of your relationship with God – or how far you are from Him.
As of March 31, 2021, we are still in a pandemic, so please continue to be safe, stay strong, and have faith in God as we work together with key organizations to maintain our research-based awareness, provide truthful disclosure, and continue to achieve major milestones.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 1"I solemnly exhort you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and instruction." (Source: Bible – New American Standard (NASB))
Ministry: Health and Wellness.
Coordinator(s) and/or Volunteer(s): Leroy Mobley, Karl Spencer.
Ministry In-Brief Administrator and Volunteer(s): Karl Spencer, Yolonda Gaines.
Location: Fifth Ward Church of Christ Resource Center.
Ministry In-Brief Archive:
Resource Center Highlights
The Goals and Vision of the center are to:
(1) Offer quality resources that contribute to the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of local community residents and the Greater Houston Area;
(2) Provide an opportunity for every desiring member to use their particular gifts in service to God and mankind;
(3) Cultivate a community of believers who support and encourage one another, and who ultimately bring glory to God; and
(4) Create opportunities to share the goods news of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom.
Some services require pre-registration or accompaniment by a member. Space is limited. Call or email us for additional information. Tel: 713-672-2654, Email: [email protected]