Chinese patient under observation for nCoV dies at San Lazaro Hospital

Marje Pelayo   •   January 29, 2020   •   676

MANILA, Philippines — A 29-year-old Chinese patient who was among the persons under investigation (PUI) for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in San Lazaro Hospital died due to pneumonia on Wednesday (January 29).

But the Department of Health (DOH) clarified that the man died of complications as he was also diagnosed with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

“He is positive of the HIV- AIDS screening test done twice. Iyong clinical manifestation, lahat ng kulani sa buong katawan namamaga. Ang dami-daming lesion noong tao sa mukha (Based on clinical manifestation, his lymph nodes were swelling up. He has lesions all over his face),” described Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“If only I could show you the picture. Payat na payat iyong tao pati puwet may warts (The person was so skinny and had lots of anal warts). It’s possible again (that he had) sepsis. So I think it’s more of an overwhelming opportunist infection,” he added.

The DOH said that from the 27 suspected cases since Tuesday (January 28), four have already been discharged as they were tested negative of 2019-nCoV.

The other 16 PUIs are still under hospital confinement pending screening results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for potential symptoms of 2019-nCoV.

The DOH is also still waiting for the confirmatory results of the blood samples sent to a hospital in Melbourne, Australia for the six other patients.

Meanwhile, the DOH Epidemiology Bureau explained that the rate of infectivity of 2019-nCoV at 3.8% is actually slower than measles one of the most contagious diseases in the world discovered so far.

The exact incubation period of novel coronavirus remains unknown but it was estimated to be roughly between one to 14 days.

Measles, on the other hand, is infectious in just two to four days from exposure.

The mortality rate of nCoV, likewise, remains low as compared to Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

“Measles’ infectivity rate is one person is to 18. Kakalat na. So this is just to show you this is much less,” Duque noted,

Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) country Representative Dr. Radindra Abeyasinghe clarified that the agency recognizes the fast rate of infectivity of 2019-nCoV especially in China but it is not enough reason for the WHO Emergency Committee to declare a global health emergency.

“Our Director-General mentioned that he is prepared and willing to reconvene the committee at very short notice. We have also shared with you that all the information that is now coming out, we are sharing with the committee members so we are not waiting to convene the committee, the committee members are having access to all the evidence that is emerging,” Abeyasinghe said.

“At very short notice the Committee can be reconvened if WHO decides and Director-General decides that that’s necessary,” he added.

DOH Spokesperson Eric Domingo, in the meantime, said the Philippines need not send samples to the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory to determine a suspected nCoV case as the agency confirmed the arrival of the testing equipment from abroad.

“The reagents and the primers that were ordered by RITM have arrived in the country and they are now setting up the lab for this. Once the laboratory is set up within 48 hours, they will be able to start running the test for 2019 novel coronavirus in the Philippines,” Domingo assured.

As of this posting, the Philippines remains to have a ‘zero case’ of the novel coronavirus, the DOH concluded. MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Five new drugs in clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment: Chinese official

UNTV News   •   February 21, 2020

Five new drugs are in clinical trials as researchers and Chinese authorities are launching more systematic vaccine tests for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), officials said Friday.

Some antiviral drugs and traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) have been proven effective in treating COVID-19 patients, Chen Shifei, deputy director of the National Medical Products Administration, told a press conference in Beijing.

“In the current clinical treatment, doctors on the frontline have incorporated a combination of pharmaceutical drugs and TCMs that are safe and effective in their medication plans. That includes some broad-spectrum antiviral drugs and Chinese patent medicines previously approved to hit the market, as well as some widely used hospital formulations. It is learned that more than 80 kinds of TCM formulations have been used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients and these medicines have proven quite effective,” he said.

While paying the utmost attention to medical safety and quality, the National Medical Products Administration has accelerated the approval procedure of new drugs, according to Chen.

“Five new drugs have entered clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment, and so far the trials are progressing smoothly,” he said but did not disclose the names of the drugs.

“We have taken precedence for innovative and generic drugs that have been thoroughly researched and listed as key projects for treating COVID-19, prioritizing their examination and approval process so that doctors can choose to use the drugs for clinical treatment on the precondition of ensuring patients’ safety,” Chen continued.

The official added that the development of vaccines is in the pipeline.

“For vaccines that are safe, effective and controllable in quality, the National Medical Products Administration will race against time to conduct technical reviews and authorize permission to let them join the fight against the viral pneumonia,” said Chen.

China has been affected by the COVID-19 epidemic since December, with the epicenter in Wuhan City in the central province of Hubei.

By the end of Thursday, the new virus had infected more than 75,400 and killed over 2,200 nationwide, while more than 18,200 have been discharged from hospital after being cured.

CCTV via Reuters Connect

Japan claims its actions over cruise ship are appropriate as public criticism grows

UNTV News   •   February 20, 2020

The Japanese government on Thursday (February 20) defended their efforts to tackle the novel coronavirus’s rapid spread and the quarantine operation that has sparked criticism of authorities just months before Tokyo is due to host the Summer Olympics.

Japan has well over half the known cases outside China due to the ship infections and the rapid spread of the virus and the quarantine operation has sparked criticism of authorities just months before Tokyo is due to host the Summer Olympics.

Infectious disease specialist Kentaro Iwata of Japan’s Kobe University Hospital, who volunteered to help aboard the ship, described the infection control effort on board as “completely inadequate,” and said basic protocols had not been followed.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that after measures were put in place to isolate passengers on Feb. 5, the number of new infections is now almost at zero.

Two elderly coronavirus-infected passengers from a cruise ship moored near Tokyo have died and two more government officials have been infected, the Japanese government said on Thursday, as more passengers disembarked after two weeks’ quarantine.

More than 620 of the passengers on the Diamond Princess liner have been infected on the ship, which has been quarantined since Feb. 3, initially with about 3,700 people on board.

(Production: Kohei Miyazaki, Hideto Sakai)

China posts sharp drop in new coronavirus cases after criteria change

UNTV News   •   February 20, 2020

Mainland China reported on Thursday (February 20) the lowest number of confirmed cases of a new coronavirus since late January, partly because of a change in diagnostic criteria for patients in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

China had 394 new confirmed cases on Wednesday (February 19), the National Health Commission (NHC) said, sharply down from 1,749 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 23.

That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 74,576.

How cases are diagnosed and confirmed has had a big impact on official tallies of cases, and changes in the method have raised questions about the extent to which daily tallies accurately reflect the state of the outbreak.

The new coronavirus emerged in the city of Wuhan, the capital of the central province of Hubei, in December, having apparently been passed to people from wildlife sold illegally in a market.

(Production: Thomas Suen)

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