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Factbox: Potential treatments to defeat novel coronavirus

(Xinhua)    14:31, March 20, 2020

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The following are some of the medicines and therapies that have been found to have the potential to defeat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and have completed or still in clinical trials in China.

-- FAVIPIRAVIR

Favipiravir, the influenza drug which was approved for clinical use in Japan in 2014, has made patients turn negative for the virus in a shorter time and shown no obvious adverse reactions in a concluded clinical trial in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.

Another trial in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, also showed that the therapeutic effect of Favipiravir is much better than that of the control group.

A Chinese pharmaceutical company has been approved by the National Medical Products Administration to mass-produce the drug and ensure stable supply.

-- CHLOROQUINE PHOSPHATE

Chloroquine Phosphate, a drug used to treat or prevent malaria infection and to treat autoimmune diseases, has been used in treating 285 critically ill COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Wuhan, and no obvious adverse reactions have been found so far.

In the latest version of the treatment guideline, Chloroquine Phosphate is recommended for COVID-19 patients aged from 18 to 65. The amount for patients over 50 kg is 500 mg per dose twice a day for seven days.

The guideline also noted that nine groups of patients should not take Chloroquine Phosphate, including pregnant women and patients with chronic heart, liver and kidney diseases.

-- TOCILIZUMAB

The latest version of the guideline suggests the use of Tocilizumab, with the common brand name Actemra, in patients with an increasing level of IL-6 and with extensive lesions in both lungs or severe symptoms.

As many severe and critically-ill COVID-19 patients were found with a higher level of IL-6 in their blood, the increasing level of IL-6 was recommended as a warning sign that the patient's situation could possibly deteriorate.

The drug is under clinical trials in 14 hospitals in Wuhan and a total of 272 severe patients had been treated with Tocilizumab as of March 5.

-- CONVALESCENT PLASMA

Convalescent plasma, processed from the plasma collected from recovered COVID-19 patients, contains a large number of protective antibodies.

As of Feb. 28, 245 COVID-19 patients have received the therapy and 91 cases have shown improvement in clinical indicators and symptoms.

According to health authorities, plasma therapy has proved safe and effective.

-- TCM

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been proven effective in treating COVID-19 patients.

With TCM treatment, patients with mild symptoms have seen their fever or cough alleviated, according to medical experts. For severely ill patients, TCM helped relieve symptoms and restore blood oxygen saturation, preventing the patients' conditions from developing into critically ill cases.

TCM decoction Qingfei Paidu Soup has been recommended to medical institutions nationwide since Feb. 6.

-- REMDESIVIR

Remdesivir, developed against Ebola infections by American pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, has shown fairly good antiviral activity against the novel coronavirus at the cellular level.

According to Cao Bin, a respiratory expert who is leading the Remdesivir program, two trials for Remdesivir are going on smoothly and China will share the data with the international community after the program is completed.

-- STEM CELL TRIAL

Several research and trials on applying stem cells for treating COVID-19 patients have been carried out in the country, including a stem cell drug that has been approved for clinical trial and a mesenchymal stem cell therapy.

The therapy has been used to treat 64 patients in severe and critical condition, proving effective in reducing severe inflammatory reactions caused by COVID-19, as well as reducing lung injury and pulmonary fibrosis in patients.

The Chinese Society for Cell Biology and the Chinese Medical Association have jointly issued a guideline to standardize the clinical research and application of stem cell therapy against COVID-19.

-- BLOOD PURIFICATION

Artificial liver and blood purification technology have been used to treat critically ill patients.

Patients receiving the treatment have seen reduced levels of inflammatory factors and improvement in chest imaging.

Their time on ventilator support has been decreased by an average of 7.7 days and the required ICU monitoring time has been shortened.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Liang Jun)

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