China is getting ahead in the search for treatments of coronavirus that has killed over 600 people infected more than 28,000 in the outbreak, the virus has been spread to more than 20 countries.
As per the reports, China on Thursday began registering patients in a clinical trial of the newly-made antivirus Remdesivir, prepared by Gilead, the U.S. pharmaceutical giant.
The drug has to be given intravenously, is experimental and not yet approved for any use on humans.
The medicine has earlier tested on infected mice and monkeys that suggested Remdesivir can fight coronaviruses.
In the US, doctors gave Remdesivir to the first coronavirus patient in Washington last week after his condition worsened and pneumonia developed when he’d been in the hospital for a week. His symptoms improved the next day.
A single case cannot determine whether a drug works, but a report on the Washington patient, in The New England Journal of Medicine, has nonetheless sparked excitement about the drug.
Another report published Tuesday by scientists in China stated that Remdesivir blocked the new coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV, from infecting cells grown in the lab.
“It is important to keep in mind that this is an experimental medicine that has only been used in a small number of patients with 2019-nCoV to date, so we do not have an appropriately robust understanding of the effect of this drug to warrant broad use at this time,” Ryan McKeel, a Gilead spokesman, said in an email.
So far, two clinical trials will take place in Wuhan and 500 patients will receive the drug and comparison groups will get a placebo, McKeel said.
“One trial, which began registering patients Thursday, includes people who are severely ill with symptoms such as oxygen deficiency. The other trial will involve patients who are hospitalized but not as sick”.
“The patients will be given the drug intravenously for 10 days, and then assessed 28 days after the treatment to see how they fared compared to the placebo groups” McKeel said.