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Latest on drugs, vaccines and source of novel coronavirus

Science & Military2020-02-16

What drugs are effective in treating the novel coronavirus? How is the vaccine development going? And where did the virus originate from? Below are the answers from officials and experts at a Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council press conference on the progress of medical research against the virus on Saturday.The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of China's State Council held a news briefing on the progress of medical research against the novel coronavirus on February 15. /CGTN PhotoSeveral drugs found effective in clinical trialsSeveral drugs, including rendesivir, chloroquine phosphate and fapilavir, have been screened and have shown good clinical efficacy in treating the novel coronavirus, according to Zhang Xinmin, director of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology.Rendesivir, a new antiviral drug by U.S. company Gilead that reportedly cured a patient in the U.S., has shown good inhibiting effects on the virus and quite a high level of safety in vitro experiments, Zhang said. The drug, aimed at infectious diseases like Ebola, has not hit the market as yet because its clinical trials have not finished in the U.S.It is now undergoing clinical trials on patients in Wuhan for efficacy. "We are looking forward to the final results," Zhang said. Chloroquine phosphate, an antimalarial drug that has been on the market for many years, and fapilavir, an overseas marketed drug for flu, have also been found effective in clinical trials. "China has green-lighted all administrative passes to treat and cure the patients. But when it comes to science, the standard cannot be lowered, and the scientific procedures have to be followed to develop a new drug," said Zhou Qi, a professor at the Institute of Zoology of Chinese Academy of Sciences.Novel coronavirus vaccine: Animal tests startedScience behind the virus: How long will it take to develop a COVID-19 vaccine?"As a special product applied to healthy people, the safety of vaccine comes first," stressed Zhang, adding that and time is needed to develop safe and effective vaccine products.The development progress of each research team in China is basically in sync with the international progress, he said.Bats the most likely natural host for the coronavirusA study of the genome sequences of the coronavirus carried out by the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the CAS has found that bats are the most likely natural hosts, said Wu Yuanbin, director-general of the Department of Science and Technology for Social Development under MOST.The team at the China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center tested over 4,800 samples of pigs, birds, dogs, cats and other animals collected in recent years, all of which showed negative results. It was initially ruled out that the novel coronavirus originated from poultry and livestock, Wu said.A total of 585 environmental and animal samples collected from the Huanan Seafood Market, where the virus is believed to originate from, and several other fresh food markets in Wuhan have been detected by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the results suggest that the outbreak may be linked to the wildlife trade, according to Wu.Virus tracing is essential to revealing the origin and evolution of the virus, eliminating the source of the epidemic and preventing the spread of the epidemic, he said.(CGTN)

What drugs are effective in treating the novel coronavirus? How is the vaccine development going? And where did the virus originate from? Below are the answers from officials and experts at a Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council press conference on the progress of medical research against the virus on Saturday.

The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of China's State Council held a news briefing on the progress of medical research against the novel coronavirus on February 15. /CGTN Photo

Several drugs found effective in clinical trialsSeveral drugs, including rendesivir, chloroquine phosphate and fapilavir, have been screened and have shown good clinical efficacy in treating the novel coronavirus, according to Zhang Xinmin, director of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology.Rendesivir, a new antiviral drug by U.S. company Gilead that reportedly cured a patient in the U.S., has shown good inhibiting effects on the virus and quite a high level of safety in vitro experiments, Zhang said. The drug, aimed at infectious diseases like Ebola, has not hit the market as yet because its clinical trials have not finished in the U.S.It is now undergoing clinical trials on patients in Wuhan for efficacy. "We are looking forward to the final results," Zhang said. Chloroquine phosphate, an antimalarial drug that has been on the market for many years, and fapilavir, an overseas marketed drug for flu, have also been found effective in clinical trials. "China has green-lighted all administrative passes to treat and cure the patients. But when it comes to science, the standard cannot be lowered, and the scientific procedures have to be followed to develop a new drug," said Zhou Qi, a professor at the Institute of Zoology of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Novel coronavirus vaccine: Animal tests startedScience behind the virus: How long will it take to develop a COVID-19 vaccine?

"As a special product applied to healthy people, the safety of vaccine comes first," stressed Zhang, adding that and time is needed to develop safe and effective vaccine products.The development progress of each research team in China is basically in sync with the international progress, he said.

Bats the most likely natural host for the coronavirusA study of the genome sequences of the coronavirus carried out by the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the CAS has found that bats are the most likely natural hosts, said Wu Yuanbin, director-general of the Department of Science and Technology for Social Development under MOST.The team at the China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center tested over 4,800 samples of pigs, birds, dogs, cats and other animals collected in recent years, all of which showed negative results. It was initially ruled out that the novel coronavirus originated from poultry and livestock, Wu said.A total of 585 environmental and animal samples collected from the Huanan Seafood Market, where the virus is believed to originate from, and several other fresh food markets in Wuhan have been detected by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the results suggest that the outbreak may be linked to the wildlife trade, according to Wu.Virus tracing is essential to revealing the origin and evolution of the virus, eliminating the source of the epidemic and preventing the spread of the epidemic, he said.

(CGTN)

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