HIV drugs use for Wuhan coronavirus
HIV drugs use for Wuhan coronavirus
China is using AbbVie Inc.’s HIV drugs as an ad-hoc treatment for pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus.

TEHRAN (Iran News) – China is using AbbVie Inc.’s HIV drugs as an ad-hoc treatment for pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus while the global search for a cure continues, Bloomberg reported.

The Beijing branch of China’s National Health Commission said that a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, sold under the brand name Kaletra by AbbVie, is part of its latest treatment plan for patients infected by the virus, which has killed at least 56 people in China and sickened more than 2,000 worldwide.

The NHC said that while there is not yet any effective anti-viral drug, it recommends patients be given two lopinavir and ritonavir tablets twice a day and a dose of alpha-interferon through nebulization twice daily.

Medical journal Lancet said on Friday that a clinical trial is underway using ritonavir and lopinavir to treat cases of the new coronavirus.

In the meantime, China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention will start developing a vaccine, according to the Global Times.

Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital in Beijing who was infected by the virus after visiting Wuhan to inspect coronavirus patients, told China News Week earlier this week that his doctor recommended he take the HIV drugs to fight the new virus and they worked on him.

China on Sunday expanded drastic travel restrictions to contain the epidemic, as the US, France, and Japan prepared to evacuate their citizens from a quarantined city at the outbreak’s epicenter.

China has locked down the hard-hit province of Hubei in the country’s center in an unprecedented operation affecting tens of millions of people to slow the spread of the respiratory virus.

Its ability to spread appears to be “getting stronger” though it is “not as powerful as SARS”, top Chinese health officials said at a press conference, adding that their knowledge of it is limited.

The previously unknown virus has caused global concern because of its similarity to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pathogen, which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Outside the epicenter, four cities – including Beijing, Shanghai and two in Shandong – announced bans on long-distance buses from entering or leaving their borders, a move that will affect millions of people traveling over the Lunar New Year holiday.

The popular southern province of Guangdong, Jiangxi in the center, and three cities made it mandatory for residents to wear faces masks in public.

Originating in Hubei’s capital of Wuhan, the virus has spread throughout China and around the world – with cases confirmed in around a dozen countries as distant as the United States.

The US State Department said Sunday it was arranging a flight from Wuhan to San Francisco for consulate staff and other Americans in the city.

The flight is on Tuesday, it said in an email to Americans in China that warned of “extremely limited” capacity for private citizens.

France’s government and the French carmaker PSA also said they were formulating plans to evacuate staff and families, who will be quarantined in a city in a neighboring province.

Japan is coordinating with the Chinese government to swiftly evacuate its citizens, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

South Korea’s consulate in Wuhan said it was conducting an online poll of its citizens there to gauge demand for a chartered flight out.

Fear in Wuhan

Instead of New Year revelry, Wuhan has been seized by an eerie calm that deepened on Sunday as new restrictions banned most road traffic in the metropolis of 11 million.

The health emergency has overwhelmed Wuhan’s hospitals with patients, prompting authorities to send hundreds of medical reinforcements, including military doctors, and start construction on two field hospitals.

With non-essential vehicles banned from the road, volunteers stepped up to drive sick fellow citizens to hospitals.

Some foreigners in Wuhan expressed deep concern, saying they feared going outside even though their food supplies were running low.

The outbreak is suspected to have originated in a Wuhan market where animals including rats, snakes, and hedgehogs were reportedly sold as exotic food.

China said Sunday it was banning all trade in wildlife until the emergency is over, but conservationists complain that China has previously failed to deliver on pledges to get tough.

Another Disneyland closes

Health officials said the virus has since become transmissible between humans.

“From what we see now, this disease is true… not as powerful as SARS,” said Gao Fu, head of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, at a press briefing in Beijing.

However, it also appears that the “spreading ability of the virus is getting stronger,” said Ma Xiaowei, head of China’s national health commission.

Shanghai on Sunday reported its first death – an 88-year-old man who had pre-existing health problems. The government says most deaths involved the elderly or people already suffering from other ailments.

Fearing a repeat of SARS, China has dramatically scaled back celebrations and travel associated with the New Year holiday, which began Friday, while tourist sites like Beijing’s Forbidden City and a section of the Great Wall have closed as a precaution.

In Hong Kong, Disneyland announced Sunday it had closed as a precaution after the city declared an emergency to combat the crisis. Shanghai’s Disneyland park had already closed Saturday.

Beijing’s education authority said the start of the spring semester had been postponed until further notice for all education levels, from kindergartens to universities.

Shanghai announced that middle and elementary schools and kindergartens would remain closed until February 17.

President Xi Jinping warned Saturday that China faced “the grave situation of an accelerating spread” of the virus, calling for stepped-up prevention.

  • source : Iran Daily, Irannews