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China flag in the fog

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread China is turning to HIV drugs to help in an attempt to treat the outbreak.

Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV) is a new respiratory illness that we have not previously observed in humans. With little known about the virus medical centres are scrambling to find treatments for both the virus and its symptoms. 

As WN-CoV is a novel virus there is no established treatment protocol, but guidance issued on Thursday 23rd January suggested that doctors try their patients on two lopinavir/ritonavir pills and inhaling a dose of nebulized alpha-interferon twice a day.

Lopinavir/ritonavir are two established HIV anti-retrovirals, and are manufacturered by pharmaceutical firm AbbVie under the brand names ‘Aluvia’ and ‘Kaletra’. The combination was first approved by the US FDA in 2001, making it one of the older treatments used today.

Health authorities in China have requested access to the HIV treatment from AbbVie Inc to assess its effectiveness at treating the new outbreak.

At the time of writing there are currently 2,827 confirmed cases, 5,794 suspected cases, 461 people in critical condition, and 81 people have died as a result of WN-CoV. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people in high risk areas and settings to clean your hands thoroughly, use tissues or your elbow when sneezing, avoid contact with people who display cold/flu symptoms, thoroughly cook all food products and avoid contact with live wild or farm animals.

This story was also published on Life4Me.plus.


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