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About 30 current drugs effective against new coronavirus, says ex-chief sanitary inspector

Twelve of them are medicines that are used to treat the HIV infection

MOSCOW, January 27./TASS/. About 30 existing medical drugs are effective against the 2019-nCoV coronavirus recently discovered in China, said Gennady Onishchenko, former head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being, on Monday.

"I want to allay our public’s concerns. There are already about 30 medical drugs that we have that are effective in treating this virus," said Onishchenko, who is now the First Deputy Head of the State Duma’s (lower house) Committee for Education and Science. "Twelve of them are medicines that we use to treat the HIV infection, and give to our HIV-infected children as a preventive measure," he told the radio station, Echo of Moscow, citing Indinavir and Saquinavir as examples. "These medications also work against this coronavirus, thank God," he added.

"Overall, we have been familiar with about 39 coronaviruses since 1965," Onishchenko said, adding that surely there are more.

China’s coronavirus outbreak

On December 31, 2019, Chinese authorities informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak of an unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center in central China populated by 11 million people. On January 7, 2020, Chinese experts identified the infecting agent as coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

Currently, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China has exceeded 2,700 with 80 deaths reported. This new strain of coronavirus has already been identified in almost all Chinese provinces including Beijing and Shanghai as well as in other countries such as Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, France, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, the United States and Japan. The World Health Organization recognized the pneumonia outbreak in China as a national emergency but stopped short of declaring it an international one.

The main symptoms of the new coronavirus is a fever, fatigue, and a slightly wet cough. Later, the patients may develop shortness of breath. According to lab tests, during the early stage of the virus, patients had normal or low leukocyte levels, and a reduced lymphocyte level. Other patients displayed elevated liver and muscle enzyme levels.