The coronavirus that started in Wuhan, China, has already claimed over 100 lives, with the number of infected people increasing each day. Currently, over 5,000 people are infected in China alone.
Now, instead of trying to develop or find a novel vaccine or cure, scientists are turning towards pre-existing drugs, such as anti-HIV vaccines, to try and fight the coronavirus.
Currently, researchers are already attempting to use anti-virals that are typically used against HIV, hoping these will also eradicate the coronavirus.
Other anti-viral drugs are being tested for the coronavirus — including one which was unsuccessful against the Ebola outbreak last year — could also be promising.
The Jin Yintan Hospital in Wuhan, China, where the first 41 patients with coronavirus were treated, is already trialing an anti-HIV combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, according to an article published on January 24 in the Lancet journal.
The article stated that the anti-HIV combination held promise against the SARS outbreak in 2003, another respiratory virus that’s part of the coronavirus strain.
Other drugs that were trialed against the MERS outbreak, which is a more distant section of the coronavirus, are also being tested and checked to see if they could be utilized against the Wuhan coronavirus.
Developments of entirely new treatments are also underway. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, for instance, is looking into identifying antibodies that could work against the coronavirus. Regeneron only took six months to develop candidate treatments and to test them in animals during the Ebola outbreak.
Ultimately, the company tested a concoction of antibodies, which reduced the Ebola mortality rate by 94% when taken soon after contracting the virus.
Hopefully, either Regeneron or other companies and researchers will find the correct mixture to treat the Wuhan coronavirus sooner rather than later.