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Doctors in China Are Starting Human Trials for a Coronavirus Treatment

This photo taken on January 30, 2020 shows medical staff members wearing facemasks talking at a hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province, during the virus outbreak in the city. - The World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the new coronavirus, as China reported January 31 the death toll had climbed to 213 with nearly 10,000 infections.

China has kick-started a clinical trial to speedily test a drug for the novel coronavirus infection as the nation rushes therapies for those afflicted and scours for vaccines to protect the rest.

Remdesivir, a new antiviral drug by Gilead Sciences Inc. aimed at infectious diseases such Ebola and SARS, will be tested by a medical team from Beijing-based China-Japan Friendship Hospital for efficacy in treating the deadly new strain of coronavirus, a hospital spokeswoman told Bloomberg News Monday.

Trial for the drug will be conducted in the central Chinese city of Wuhan — ground zero of the viral outbreak that has so far killed more than 360 people, sickened over 17,000 in China and spread to more than a dozen nations. As many as 270 patients with mild and moderate pneumonia caused by the virus will be recruited in a randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled study, Chinese news outlet The Paper reported on Sunday.

Drugmakers such as GlaxoSmithKline Plc. as well as Chinese authorities are racing to crash develop vaccines and therapies to combat the new virus that’s more contagious than SARS and could cost the global economy four times more than the $40 billion sapped by the 2003 SARS outbreak. The decision to hold human trials for remdesivir shows it’s among the most promising therapies against the virus that so far has no specific treatments or vaccines.

Experimental Drug

The experimental drug has not yet been approved for use by any drug regulator in the world but is being used on patients battling the new virus in the absence of approved treatment options, Gilead said in a statement last week.

China’s health regulator has also recommended AbbVie Inc’s HIV medicine Kaletra as an ad-hoc antiviral drug for coronovirus. Kaletra is also set to undergo human trials, according to The Paper.

Meanwhile, a global search continues for therapies to contain the infection that can spread undetected.

Drugmakers Hunt for Ways to Halt Virus That Eludes Travel Curbs

The Coalition, set up in 2017 to spur the development of shots for known diseases and to respond to new viruses, has also signed contracts with drugmakers including Moderna Inc. and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. as early as Jan. 22 to expedite work on vaccines. Novavax Inc. was among the first ones to announce it was working on a candidate too.

Racing To Make A Coronavirus Vaccine

Scientists at Moderna Theraputics and the NIH are racing to create the world’s first coronavirus vaccine in record time.

Frontline Treatment

Health officials, however, say a vaccine version may take three months to be available for the first stages of human testing while developing an effective vaccine generally takes years.

That puts remdesivir on the front lines of combating the infection.

The first patient in the U.S. infected with the virus, a 35-year-old man, has seen his pneumonia improve after he was given remdesivir, doctors treating him said in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week.

By Bloomberg 3:25 AM EST

Source: Doctors in China Are Starting Human Trials for a Coronavirus Treatment

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First Death In China From New Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak

Health Screenings In Bangkok For China's Wuhan Pneumonia

Barney Stinson of the television show How I Met You Mother was wrong. New is not always better.

The latest news about the mystery pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, is that scientists may have found a new virus. And this novel virus may be the culprit in the outbreak that has already left over 40 people sick and now a 61-year-old man dead.

Yes, this is the “mystery pneumonia” outbreak that I covered for Forbes last week. Now, as CBS News reported, a lead scientist in the ongoing investigation of the outbreak in China, Xu Jianguo, has said that it’s been “preliminarily determined” that a new strain of coronavirus may be the culprit. That would preliminarily suck because who wants yet another virus to worry about that can potentially kill.

Those of you who took Latin in high school so that you can talk to nobody may recognize that “corona” is the Latin word for “crown.” Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that have spikes on their surface that make them look like little crowns as you can see in this photo:

Can you you imagine one of these viruses on your head?

While it may be good to have a real crown on you, you probably do not want one of these on or in you. That’s because there are now seven different types of coronaviruses that can infect humans. The most common types of these so-called human coronaviruses are two, 229E and NL63, that fall into the alpha subgroup, and two, OC43 and HKU1, that fall into the beta subgroup of coronaviruses. These four may not be that easy to remember because their names sound a bit like droids on Star Wars.

https://i1.wp.com/onlinemarketingscoops.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Secrets-to-ebay-and-amazon-success-Ad-Gif-2.gif?resize=136%2C136&ssl=1But that’s OK, because these four aren’t the most worrisome ones. They tend to cause mild-to-moderate upper respiratory illnesses that consist of cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, headache, sore throat, fever, and general feeling of bleck. Occasionally, the infection can involve your lower-respiratory tract, resulting in bronchitis or pneumonia, which is more likely to happen when your immune system, heart, or lungs are weakened.

The human coronaviruses to worry much more about are the remaining three. One is the SARS-Coronavirus (CoV), which causes, you guessed it, SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome. This was the beta coronavirus that sickened 8,098 people and killed 774 around the world during the 2003 SARS outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the SARS-CoV killed 14% to 15% of those infected.

A second is the MERS-CoV, which causes MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. As the WHO describes, MERS was first found in Saudi Arabia in 2012. This beta coronavirus has also been quite a killer, with around 35% of those infected dying.

The third human coronavirus in this uh-oh group and seventh overall is this new coronavirus just found in Wuhan, China. It doesn’t have an official name yet and is listed on the CDC website as “Novel Coronavirus 2019.”

This new one is still a quite a mystery. The MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, like other human coronaviruses, can spread from one human to another through contact with respiratory secretions. So far, word is that there haven’t been any clear cases of one human infecting another with “Novel Coronavirus 2019.”

For example, reportedly no health care workers who have been taking care of the patients with the virus have gotten sick themselves. Ah, but don’t rule out human-to-human transmission of the virus just yet. If human-to-human transmission is not possible then how the heck did so many people get infected? Did everyone somehow interact with the same group of animals? If so what animals are responsible? As they say, I have so many questions.

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Plus, even if a virus can’t go from human-to-human now, who knows what may happen in the future? A new virus that has managed to finally learn how to infect a human can be a bit like a contestant who has finally made it intothe reality television show The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. It can explore and learn how to wreak further havoc. Eventually, it may figure out how to jump from one human to another. After all, viruses and reality show participants can evolve quite quickly.

Stay tuned as this remains an evolving situation. For now, many countries in Asia are taking precautions and screening those traveling from Wuhan. If you are traveling to Wuhan, don’t interact closely with someone who appears to be sick and don’t hang out with animals. You don’t want to get caught off guard the next time something new emerges about this new virus.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and founder and CEO of Symsilico. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work involves developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.

Source: First Death In China From New Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak

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