Trial drug for 2019 nCoV now ready to be administered to over 700 patients

Maris Federez   •   February 7, 2020   •   1127

China’s health authorities have announced that registration for clinical trials on a potential antiviral drug for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been approved.

The antiviral drug called “Remdesivir” will be made available to the more than 700 patients that tested positive of the 2019 nCoV in Wuhan City, China for its clinical trial.

Authorities said that aside from the 2019 nCoV, the drug can also be used to fight Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and even Ebola infection.

Remdesivir was developed by the American pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Health Commission, and the National Medical Products Administration support the approval of the said drug. —(details from Grace Casin) /mbmf

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France ‘will run out’ of protective masks against coronavirus, warns Paris pharmacist

UNTV News   •   February 26, 2020

 Fear is spreading and markets are falling, said French newspapers on Tuesday morning (February 25) as the coronavirus outbreak in neighbouring Italy counted 283 cases and seven deaths, Europe’s worst hit country.

The number of cases there has ballooned from just three on Friday, and authorities have rushed to seal off the worst affected towns.

But the virus has continued to spread and authorities reported an infection in Sicily, the first case south of Rome, on Tuesday.

France is preparing for the outbreak to reach its territory. The government has ordered millions of FFP2 respiratory masks – also know as P95 – for medical services to use in case of an outbreak.

At a Paris pharmacy, news of the Italian outbreak meant more clients coming in for disinfectant gel and masks.

Paris pharmacist Pascal Legrand Durand said while buyers so far had largely been tourists from China, the majority of clients were now Parisians worried about an outbreak happening in the French capital.

But Legrand Durand was skeptical about France’s ability to stock up on masks, saying factories were already struggling to meet demand. (Reuters Connect)

(Production: Thierry Chiarello, Lucien Libert)

Hukou Waterfalls scenic spot officially open to public amid epidemic

Jeck Deocampo   •   February 24, 2020

The spectacular Hukou Waterfalls, which sits on the border between north China’s Shanxi Province and northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, was officially open to the public on Monday after being closed for a month due to the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.

Monday is the traditional “Dragon Head-raising Day”, which falls on the second day of the second month on the Chinese lunar calendar.

The dragon was traditionally regarded in China as the deity in charge of rain, a key element in ancient agriculture. Dragon Head-raising Day signals the start of ample rain for spring crops and is considered an auspicious day.

Affected by the melting snow in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, the Hukou Waterfalls has resumed its momentum of rushing and roaring after a winter. The huge volume of water rushing down in this section of the Yellow River forms a spectacular waterfall group. As the water flow is mixed with the rapid fall of sand, it has created deafening noise and immense water mist, forming a magnificent scene.

In order to effectively prevent and control the coronavirus epidemic and to ensure the safety of tourists, Hukou Waterfalls administrators will implement mandatory inspections and real-time control of the total number of tourists entering the scenic spot, and ask tourists to enter it in different periods of time.

“We have standardized the registration of our staff members who are back to work and formulated a detailed epidemic prevention work plan. We will let our staff have meals separately and have also purchased sufficient quantities of epidemic prevention materials,” said Dou Feng, head of the Communist Party Affairs Department at Hukou Waterfalls Culture and Tourism Co., Ltd.

To pay tribute to the front-line medical workers against the epidemic, the Hukou Waterfalls will be open to medical workers nationwide for free from Monday to the end of the year.

The Hukou Waterfall is the largest along the Yellow River and the second largest in China. Its name, which means “mouth of a kettle” in Chinese, derives from its resemblance to water pouring down from a huge kettle.

WHO officially names deadly coronavirus Covid-19

Maris Federez   •   February 12, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has named the deadly novel coronavirus “Covid-19”.

“We now have a name for the disease and it’s Covid-19,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.

He explained that “co” stands for “corona,” “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease.”

Tedros said the name had been chosen in line with the international recommendations for naming in order to avoid stigmatization brought about by references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people.

Tedros also said he saw a “realistic chance” of stopping the outbreak.

The WHO official made the announcement on the first day of an international scientific conference in Geneva that will look at possible vaccine options to combat the virus.

“We are not defenseless,” Tedros stressed. — /mbmf

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