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Gilead Drug to Undergo Human Trials in China to Cure Coronavirus

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.

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A doctor working inside an isolation ward at a hospital in Wuhan, Jan. 30.Photographer: AFP via Getty Images

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.

Johnson & Johnson has initiated work on a preventive coronavirus vaccine and has “dozens of scientists” working on it, its Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels said last month. GlaxoSmithKline and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said Monday they will work to accelerate the creation of a vaccine and then provide the doses rapidly.

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.

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.

The trial in China could lead to a fast-track approval of remdesivir by the Chinese drug regulator, which in some cases has been the fastest in the world. China’s drug law now allows conditional approval for drugs with clinical data demonstrating efficacy against aliments that are life-threatening and have no existing therapies.

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Thailand sees apparent success treating Coronavirus with drug cocktail

Bangkok: A Chinese woman infected with the new coronavirus showed a dramatic improvement after she was treated with a cocktail of anti-virals used to treat flu & HIV, Thailand’s health ministry said Sunday. The 71-year-old patient tested negative for the virus 48 hours after Thai doctors administered the combination, doctor Kriengsak Attipornwanich said during the ministry’s daily press briefing.

“The lab result of positive on the coronavirus turned negative in 48 hours,” Kriengsa said.

“From being exhausted before, she could sit up in bed 12 hours later.”

The doctors combined the anti-flu drug oseltamivir with lopinavir and ritonavir, anti-virals used to treat HIV, Kriengsak said, adding the ministry was awaiting research results to prove the findings.

The news comes as the new virus claimed its first life outside China — a 44-year-old Chinese man who died in the Philippines — while the death toll in China has soared above 300.

Thailand so far has detected 19 confirmed cases of the virus believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, which is under lockdown.

That is the second highest number of cases outside of China, with Japan recording 20.

So far, eight patients in Thailand have recovered and returned home, while 11 remain in hospital.

In a video released Sunday, health minister Anutin Charnvirakul visited a patient from Wuhan who had recovered from the coronavirus, chatting with her amicably in Mandarin as she thanked him and the medical staff.

Thai authorities are trying to balance screening of inbound Chinese visitors with the economic needs of its tourist sector, which is heavily reliant on arrivals from the mainland.

Messages of support saying “Our hearts to Wuhan” in English, Chinese and Thai were plastered on a Bangkok mall popular with tourists.

The bulk of confirmed cases have been Chinese visitors to Thailand, but on Thursday the kingdom recorded its first human-to-human transmission when a Thai taxi driver was diagnosed with the disease.

The taxi driver had not travelled to China, but may have had contact with tourists.

Thailand’s government is also battling public criticism that it has been slow to evacuate scores of its citizens from Hubei province, at the centre of the outbreak.

Anutin said evacuation would happen on Tuesday, and the returnees would be quarantined for 14 days. (AFP) IND

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Tracking coronavirus: Map, data and timeline

The table below shows confirmed cases of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China and other countries. To see a distribution map and a timeline, scroll down. There are currently 17,393 confirmed cases worldwide, including 362 fatalities.

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Last update: 3 February 2020 at 1:48 a.m. ET

MAINLAND CHINACasesDeathsNotesLinks
Hubei province
(including Wuhan)
11,1773501,223 serious, 478 criticalSource
Zhejiang province724048 serious, 12 criticalSource
Guangdong province683057 serious, 20 criticalSource
Henan province566230 serious, 14 criticalSource
Hunan province521058 seriousSource
Anhui province40804 criticalSource
Jiangxi province391034 seriousSource
Chongqing300223 serious, 6 criticalSource
Jiangsu province27102 seriousSource
Sichuan province255*19 criticalSource
Shandong province246016 serious, 1 criticalSource
Beijing191110 criticalSource
Shanghai20317 serious, 6 criticalSource
Fujian province179013 serious, 7 criticalSource
Shaanxi province12801+ seriousSource
Guangxi Region12705 serious, 3 criticalSource
Yunnan province10907 serious, 3 criticalSource
Hebei province113112 seriousSource
Heilongjiang province118215 seriousSource
Liaoning province7306 seriousSource
Hainan province71110 seriousSource
Shanxi province6605 seriousSource
Tianjin56015 serious, 3 criticalSource
Gansu province5104 serious, 1 criticalSource
Guizhou province4606 serious, 4 criticalSource
Ningxia Region3104 seriousSource
Inner Mongolia3401+ seriousSource
Jilin province3104 serious, 1 criticalSource
Xinjiang2406 serious, 2 criticalSource
Qinghai province1301 serious, 7 stableSource
Tibet10StableSource
TOTAL17,2073612,296 serious
475 recovered
21,558 suspected

REGIONSCasesDeathsNotesLinks
Hong Kong150Source
Taiwan100Source
Macau80Source
TOTAL3300 serious

INTERNATIONALCasesDeathsNotesLinks
Japan20*0Source
Thailand1907 recoveredSource
Singapore180All stableSource
South Korea150Source
Australia122 recoveredSource
Germany100Source
Malaysia80StableSource
United States110Source
Vietnam801 recoveredSource
France602 seriousSource
UAE50StableSource
Canada40Source
England20Source
Russia20Source
Philippines21Source
India30StableSource
Italy20Source
Nepal10Source
Cambodia10Source
Sri Lanka101 recoveredSource
Finland10Source
Sweden10Source
Spain10Source
TOTAL15312 serious

Notes

  • The number of cases in Sichuan province, China, includes 1 asymptomatic case. This case is not included in the government’s official count.
  • The number of cases as counted by the Japanese government does not include 5 asymptomatic cases.
  • 1 suspected case in Botswana is still under investigation. (Source)

Timeline (GMT)

3 February

  • 06:48: 1 new case in India. (Source)
  • 06:42: 4 new cases in Yunnan province, China. (Source)
  • 06:40: 10 new cases in Shanghai. (Source)
  • 05:11: 3 new cases in Liaoning province, China. (Source)
  • 05:10: 2 new cases in Tianjin, China. (Source)
  • 03:16: 1 new case in Vietnam. (Source)
  • 03:15: 20 new cases in Fujian province, China. (Source)
  • 02:33: 7 new cases in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Source)
  • 02:25: 6 new cases in Tianjin, China. (Source)
  • 02:13: 12 new cases in Shaanxi province, China. (Source)
  • 02:09: 3 new cases in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China. (Source)
  • 02:07: 3 new cases in Hainan province, China. The other cases in the press release were previously reported. (Source)
  • 01:30: 2 new cases in Qinghai province, China. Two other cases in the press release were previously reported. (Source)
  • 01:23: 58 new cases in Hunan province, China. (Source)
  • 01:18: 51 new cases in Guangdong province, China. The other cases in the press release were previously reported. (Source)
  • 01:16: 23 new cases in Heilongjiang province, China. (Source)
  • 01:10: 59 new cases in Jiangxi province, China. One previous case was discarded. (Source)
  • 01:04: 63 new cases in Zhejiang province, China. (Source)
  • 01:02: 3 new cases in Xinjiang Region, China. (Source)
  • 01:01: 16 new cases in Shandong province, China. (Source)
  • 01:00: 35 new cases in Jiangsu province, China. (Source)
  • 00:59: 8 new cases in Jilin province, China. (Source)
  • 00:58: 23 new cases in Sichuan province, China. (Source)
  • 00:57: 73 new cases in Henan province, China. (Source)
  • 00:56: 68 new cases in Anhui province, China. (Source)
  • 00:55: 2 new cases in California, United States. (Source)
  • 00:33: 8 new cases in Guizhou province, China. (Source)
  • 00:06: 9 new cases in Hebei province, China. (Source)
  • 00:00: 16 new cases in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. (Source)

2 February

  • 23:57: 11 new cases in Shanghai. (Source)
  • 23:54: China’s National Health Commission reports 593 new cases across the mainland. Their locations have not yet been disclosed. (Source)
  • 23:35: 25 new cases and 1 new death in Chongqing, China. (Source)
  • 23:05: 10 new cases in Shanxi province, China. (Source)
  • 22:08: 2,103 new cases and 56 new deaths in Hubei province, China. (Source)
  • 21:34: 1 new case in California, United States. (Source)
  • 16:04: 11 new cases in Gansu province, China. (Source)
  • 14:55: 1 new cases in Liaoning province, China. (Source)
  • 13:38: 1 new case in Hong Kong. (Source)
  • 10:18: 6 new cases in Yunnan province, China. (Source)
  • 10:03: 2 new cases in Germany. (Source)
  • 08:51: 13 new cases in Chongqing, China. (Source)
  • 08:50: 5 new cases in Liaoning province, China. (Source)
  • 08:44: 5 new cases in Shandong province, China. (Source)
  • 08:41: 8 new cases in Beijing. (Source)
  • 08:30: 28 new cases in Guangdong province, China. (Source)
  • 06:57: 6 new cases in Hainan province, China. (Source)
  • 06:51: 6 new cases in Jilin province, China. (Source)
  • 06:44: 4 new cases in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Source)
  • 06:32: 15 new cases in Beijing. (Source)
  • 06:25: 15 new cases in Shaanxi province, China. (Source)
  • 06:06: 15 new cases in Fujian province, China. (Source)
  • 06:05: 5 new cases in Shanghai. (Source)
  • 06:00: 7 new cases in Tianjin, China. (Source 1Source 2)
  • 05:44: 1 new case in Macau. (Source)
  • 05:15: 2 new cases in Qinghai province, China. (Source)
  • 05:10: 8 new cases in Yunnan province, China. (Source)
  • 05:00: 74 new cases in Hunan province, China. (Source)
  • 04:50: 2 new cases in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China. (Source)
  • 04:49: 15 new cases in Heilongjiang province, China. (Source)
  • 04:48: 62 new cases in Zhejiang province, China. (Source)
  • 04:47: 47 new cases in Jiangxi province, China. (Source)
  • 04:46: 69 new cases in Guangdong province, China. (Source)
  • 04:45: 43 new cases in Anhui province, China. (Source)
  • 04:44: 34 new cases in Jiangsu province, China. (Source)
  • 04:43: 19 new cases in Shandong province, China. (Source)
  • 04:42: 24 new cases in Sichuan province, China. (Source)
  • 04:41: 3 new cases in Xinjiang Region, China. (Source)
  • 04:40: 1 new case in Vietnam. (Source)
  • 03:48: 1 new case in India. (Source)
  • 02:37: 1 new case, a fatality, in the Philippines. This is the first death outside China. (Source)
  • 00:55: 3 new cases in South Korea. (Source)
  • 00:32: 71 new cases in Henan province, China. (Source)
  • 00:29: 9 new cases in Guizhou province, China. (Source)
  • 00:02: 8 new cases in Hebei province, China. (Source)
  • 00:00: 11 new cases in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. (Source)

For the full timeline, click here.

Charts