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28 January 2020, 10:13
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China testing HIV drugs as potential coronavirus treatment

China testing HIV drugs as potential coronavirus treatment - picture 1

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread China is turning to HIV drugs to help in an attempt to treat the outbreak.

Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV) is a new respiratory illness that we have not previously observed in humans. With little known about the virus medical centres are scrambling to find treatments for both the virus and its symptoms. 

As WN-CoV is a novel virus there is no established treatment protocol, but guidance issued on Thursday 23rd January suggested that doctors try their patients on two lopinavir/ritonavir pills and inhaling a dose of nebulized alpha-interferon twice a day.

Lopinavir/ritonavir are two established HIV anti-retrovirals, and are manufacturered by pharmaceutical firm AbbVie under the brand names 'Aluvia' and 'Kaletra'. 

Health authorities in China have requested access to the HIV treatment from AbbVie Inc to assess its effectiveness at treating the new outbreak.

At the time of writing there are currently 2,827 confirmed cases, 5,794 suspected cases, 461 people in critical condition, and 81 people have died as a result of WN-CoV. 

 

Author: Tom Hayes

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