The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus is spreading rapidly, and scientists are endeavoring to discover drugs for its efficacious treatment in China. Chloroquine phosphate, an old drug for treatment of malaria, is shown to have apparent efficacy and acceptable safety against COVID-19 associated pneumonia in multi-center clinical trials conducted in China. The drug is recommended to be included in the next version of the Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Pneumonia Caused by COVID-19 issued by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China for treatment of COVID-19 infection in larger populations in the future.
The drug, is under assessment in more than 100 patients at over ten hospitals in Beijing and Guangdong province. Plans for an additional study in Hunan province are underway. Meanwhile, Gilead’s drug is said to be under trials at more than ten medical institutions in Wuhan, the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak.
A study by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed that remdesivir could prevent the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a type of coronavirus in monkeys, offering hope for China trials. Earlier this month, the Wuhan Institute of Virology filed an application seeking a new patent on remdesivir.