New Delhi: A Chinese official on Saturday said that several antiviral drugs to treat the novel coronavirus outbreak in China are under clinical trials and some have shown fairly good efficacy.
It has claimed over 1,500 lives so far.
The death toll in China’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has risen to 1,523 with 143 new fatalities reported mostly from the worst-affected Hubei province while the confirmed cases have jumped to over 66,000, health officials said on Saturday.
Chinese researchers have narrowed down their focus to a few existing drugs, including Chloroquine Phosphate, Favipiravir and Remdesivir, after multiple rounds of screening, Zhang Xinmin, director of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology, told reporters here.
In vitro experiments have shown that Chloroquine Phosphate, an antimalarial drug which has been widely used for many years, can effectively inhibit the novel coronavirus infection.
It is now under clinical trials in more than 10 hospitals in Beijing and Guangdong, which enrolled a total of over 100 patients.
Clinical trials on the drug will also be launched in central China’s Hunan Province soon, Zhang was quoted as saying in the state-run Xinhua news agency.
The preliminary clinical results show that Chloroquine Phosphate is quite effective in treating novel coronavirus pneumonia, he said.
Favipiravir, an influenza drug available on overseas markets, has been put in a clinical trial in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province, with 70 patients enlisted, he said.
The initial outcome of the trial shows the drug has relatively obvious efficacy and low adverse reactions.
“Three to four days after treatment, the group that takes the drug has a significantly higher turning-negative rate in the viral nucleic acid than the parallel group,” he said.