While the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV is sweeping the planet, scientists are developing effective drug in the fight against disease. However, in the best case, a vaccine against coronavirus will appear not earlier than a year since its development and testing take much time. The situation is complicated by the fact that viral diseases such as SARS and influenza are not treated by the simple device of antiviral drugs. So as not to get the flu, you need to undergo an annual vaccination, and treatment of SARS is aimed at the symptoms, not the causative agent. For this reason, the information that the Chinese researchers found that the antimalarial drug chloroquine is effective against coronavirus looks sensational. But how is this possible?
Chinese researchers found that the antimalarial drug chloroquine could effectively inhibit new coronavirus infection in vitro, i.e. outside the human body. The results obtained researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Beijing Institute of pharmacology and toxicology, reported in the journal Cell Research. According to the published study, researchers evaluated the antivirus effectiveness of seven drugs in the laboratory.
It is known that chloroquine is a widely used drug against malaria and autoimmune diseases — inhibits viral infection by changing the acidity within cells and acting on receptors of the coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the outbreak which occurred in 2003. Recall that the genome of the SARS genome is similar to 2019-nCoV almost 80%. The study was conducted on Vero E6 cells, which are derived from the kidneys of African green monkeys. These mammals are most often the subjects in studies in Microbiology and molecular and cell biology.
Chloroquine also demonstrated immunomodulatory activity, which may enhance its antiviral effect in vivo. Meanwhile, as the researchers note, after oral administration chloroquine is widely distributed throughout the body, including the lungs. Moreover, chloroquine is a cheap and safe drug that has been used for over 70 years. Potentially, clinically applicable against the new coronavirus. As the situation in China is complicated day by day, chloroquine and some other antiviral drugs, as well as some traditional Chinese medicinescontaining the active antiviral ingredients, were selected as candidates for further research in the search for effective drug against the new coronavirus.
What measures the Chinese authorities against 2019-nCoV?
According to official data state on February 6, 2020, the number of infected coronavirus in China is more than 28 thousand people, and the victims of the virus were at least 565 people. The virus escaped out of the country and today the official cases registered in more than 24 countries around the world. The first death from the coronavirus outside of China was in the Philippines. In addition to the introduction of unprecedented quarantine, the Chinese government carried out large-scale disinfection across the country. You’ve probably seen the footage from Shanghai and other cities, where special machines as well as people in protective suits sprayed a gaseous substance of white color.