Russia's Ministry of Health names three drugs that can treat new Chinese coronavirus
By Jonny Tickle, RT
While experts across the world search for a vaccine to tackle the dangerous new infection, Russian health bosses have identified a trio of existing medicines to combat 2019-nCoV in adults.
The new coronavirus can be fought with ribavirin, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon beta-1b, they believe. These drugs are typically used to treat hepatitis C, HIV and multiple sclerosis respectively.
The Ministry of Health advisory not only offers recommendations, but also describes how the treatments work and in what quantities they should be prescribed. The guidelines are intended for doctors in hospitals throughout the country.
One of the drugs recommended, ribavirin, was used in the treatment of the 2003 Chinese SARS outbreak, which infected over 8,000 people and killed 774 across 17 different countries. The new coronavirus has shown a sizeable genetic similarity with SARS, with one sequence comparison showing a match of 79.5%.
The ministry also instructs that, in order to prevent and reduce the severity of symptoms, medication should be consumed within two days of contact with an infected person. Their prevention recommendations also include sanitary and hygiene rules, such as handwashing and wearing protective masks.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova explained that there is a considerable risk of the coronavirus entering Russia, despite the current number of confirmed cases remaining at zero.
According to the Chinese government's most recent data, there are currently 7711 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with at least one in every region of mainland China. So far, 170 people have died.
AbbVie's HIV Drug Aluvia Seen as Potential Treatment for Coronavirus
More than 80 people have died from the coronavirus in China. The Chinese government is turning to a drug developed by AbbVie for HIV patients as a potential treatment for the outbreak that has reached the shores of the United States.
AbbVie said it was donating more than one million dollars' worth of Aluvia, a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir as an ad-hoc treatment for pneumonia that is associated with the outbreak. The Chinese government suggested last week that taking two lopinavir/ritonavir pills and inhaling a dose of nebulized alpha-interferon twice a day could benefit these patients, Reuters reported. There are more than 2,000 known cases of the coronavirus in China. The illness has caused parts of China to grind to a halt as health officials seek to contain the spread of the virus.
The decision to use AbbVie's medicine came after a noted respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital in Beijing said he was given the HIV drugs to fight the virus after he contracted it following a visit to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in central China where the virus is thought to have originated. Wan Guangfa came down with the virus after interacting with coronavirus patients. He told China News Week that the HIV treatments worked for him.
The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as SARS that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-03 and killed about 800 people. Also, the virus is similar to Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which developed from camels. The virus infects the lungs, and symptoms start with a fever and cough. It can progress to shortness of breath and breathing difficulties leading to pneumonia.
Aluvia is thought to be a potential treatment for the coronavirus due to its ability to block a protease that the virus needs to replicate within the human body. AbbVie's drug has previously been tested in patients with SARS and MERS, which are similar viruses, Endpoints reported.
Other drugmakers are also responding. Gilead Sciences is looking at its Ebola virus drug remdesivir, an antiviral, as a potential coronavirus treatment, The Motley Fool reported. Moderna also has a treatment for the virus under investigation. The company received a grant from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to investigate a treatment for the virus. Inovio also received a grant from CEPI to develop a potential vaccine.
Reference Link :- https://www.biospace.com/article/abbvie-to-donate-hiv-drug-to-china-as-potential-treatment-for-coronavirus/
China Testing HIV Drug as Treatment for New Coronavirus, AbbVie Says
(Reuters) - China is testing an HIV drug as a treatment for symptoms of the new coronavirus that is rapidly spreading, said drugmaker AbbVie Inc on Sunday.
China health authorities requested the drug to help with the government's efforts to address the crisis, according to Adelle Infante, a spokeswoman for North Chicago, Illinois-based AbbVie.
Aluvia, which is also known as Kaletra, is a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir.
In guidance published on Thursday, the government said there is no effective anti-virus medicine but suggested taking two lopinavir/ritonavir pills and inhaling a dose of nebulized alpha-interferon twice a day.
Health authorities around the world are racing to prevent a pandemic after more than 2,000 people were infected in China and 56 have died after contracting the virus.
China repurposes AbbVie HIV drug as Big Pharma rallies to combat deadly coronavirus
To battle the coronavirus emergency, Chinese government and medical experts are taking some unconventional measures, including publicly backing off-label use of a Big Pharma drug.
AbbVie's fixed-dose HIV drug Kaletra—also known as Aluvia, is now recommended as a treatment for pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus known as 2019-nCoV, China's National Health Commission says in its updated clinical guidance.
In response, the Illinois pharma is donating CNY 10 million (about $1.5 million) worth of the drug to help contain the virus, its China branch said (Chinese) Friday.
Kaletra's two antiretroviral components, lopinavir and ritonavir, are protease inhibitors designed to block HIV viral replication. One hypothesis holds that the drugs could do the same with 2019-nCoV, which is believed to have originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Although not approved to treat any coronavirus anywhere, it has shown efficacy in at least one case in the current outbreak in China.
Wang Guangfa, the leader of Peking University First Hospital's pulmonary and critical care medicine department, contracted the virus as a member of a national expert team dispatched to Wuhan. Kaletra killed his disease, Wang told state-run China News Service in a report (Chinese) on Thursday.
RELATED: Gilead mulls repositioning failed Ebola drug in China virus
It's worth noting that this isn't the first time Kaletra has worked against a coronavirus. In a historical control study in 2004, "the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir among SARS-CoV patients was associated with substantial clinical benefit (fewer adverse clinical outcomes)," Chinese researchers noted in a newly published The Lancet study, which describes the clinical features of the first 41 patients infected with 2019-nCoV.
However, the study authors and the government both cautioned that there are no treatments confirmed to be effective against the new pathogen.
SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is also caused by a coronavirus, and the older pathogen bears much resemblance to the newly emerged one. SARS hit China hard during a 2002-2003 epidemic, killing about 700 in the country alone. As of Sunday, 2019-nCoV has led to 2,744 confirmed infections in all parts of China and killed 80 people, according to Chinese authorities.
China has adopted various measures to contain the virus, including putting Wuhan—population 11 million—on complete quarantine, implementing the highest level of public health response across the country, and extending the Chinese New Year holiday to avoid large-scale migration that could contribute to disease spread. Drugmakers are stepping up their efforts as well.
RELATED: Inovio, Moderna score CEPI funding for vaccine work against deadly coronavirus
Antiviral specialist Gilead Sciences is considering repurposing its failed Ebola drug remdesivir for the virus. Moderna Therapeutics is working with the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on the development of an mRNA vaccine, with some funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). Johnson & Johnson also just unveiled a plan to expedite work on a vaccine. Pennsylvania-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals secured $9 million CEPI funding for its own program.
In China, besides AbbVie's Kaletra contribution, Bayer on Sunday also said it would donate CNY 6.5 million worth of medicines and another CNY 4.5 million in cash to help purchase medical protection products for Wuhan.
Local operations of Roche, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, J&J, Allergan, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Fresenius Kabi and Takeda have all announced plans to donate money or products in the million-yuan range each to support the cause.
AbbVie donates $1M+ of the HIV drug that China is now recommending for coronavirus treatment
AbbVie is donating more than $1 million worth of an HIV drug to help combat the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak in China, the company announced on Friday.
China's National Health Commission has suggested Aluvia, a pill containing lopinavir and ritonavir, as one of two possible treatments for the symptoms of the virus currently known as 2019-nCoV in the absence of effective antiviral medications. The other part is nebulized alpha-interferon.
A crop of drugmakers — now including J&J — is racing to add more potential weapons to the arsenal.
Government officials are rushing to contain and find solutions for an epidemic that originated in the inland city of Wuhan, Hubei but has since popped up in every other region except for Tibet. The Aluvia regimen — two pills per round, twice daily — was included in the third test version of the "diagnosis and treatment plan for new coronavirus infections."
Guangfa Wang, a Beijing-based pulmonary expert who contracted the virus after visiting Wuhan for an investigation, told China's Time-Weekly that he took Aluvia as part of his treatment and it appeared to be effective in his case. Shanghai officials said they have adopted this type of HIV drugs since their first patient.
"So far it seems to have certain effects, but we need more clinical observation," said Hongzhou Lu of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center.
The theory, yet to be proven, is that Aluvia works by blocking a protease that the coronavirus needs for reproduction in the human body. Though it's not the same protease that the drug was originally designed to block, it might be similar enough to delay disease progression. Because of that, Aluvia had previously also been tested in patients with SARS and MERS.
An anonymous Wuhan doctor interviewed by Time-Weekly said that Aluvia is useful against the novel coronavirus, but it's "hard to come by."
AbbVie said on WeChat that it will donate RMB$10 million (around $1.44 million) worth of pills in response to the guidance, though it didn't specify how it would distribute across the country.
Other drugmakers are also rushing to the call for effective medications. Gilead dusted off remdesivir, an antiviral that missed the mark on Ebola, to see about its potential against the new virus. Moderna is allied with the NIH to develop a vaccine while George Scangos' Vir has brought out antibodies. A raft of small-cap biotechs triggered a stock rally over potential vaccine candidates that might take years, if ever, to materialize.
On Monday J&J threw its name in the hat, as CSO Paul Stoffels told CNBC about its efforts to create a potential vaccine, testing at least five different constructs in parallel and at the same time building an animal model and preparing the manufacturing infrastructure.
"We are comfortable that can create a vaccine and scale it up," he said on air.
Treatments are urgently needed as the death toll in China rises to 81, five of them outside Hubei province, with almost 3,000 confirmed cases and double that number of suspected cases even as several cities are on lockdown. So far, five 2019-nCoV cases have been detected in the US.
Can an anti-HIV combination or other existing drugs outwit the new coronavirus?
When a frightening new virus emerges in humans, scientists spend many months, if not years, developing and testing a vaccine. Finding new treatments, too, takes a long time, but there is another option: Try existing drugs to see whether they have activity against the new virus.
In the case of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), researchers are already trying antivirals widely used to treat HIV, in hopes they might be able to fight the coronavirus as well. Other, still experimental antivirals—including one that was unsuccessfully tested against Ebola last year—may also hold promise.
The Jin Yintan Hospital in Wuhan, China, where the first 41 known patients were treated, has already launched a randomized, controlled trial of the anti-HIV drug combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, according to a 24 January report by a group of Chinese scientists in The Lancet. The combination targets protease, an enzyme used by both HIV and coronaviruses to cut up proteins when they make new copies of themselves. (A spokesperson for the biopharmaceutical company Abbvie tells ScienceInsider it has donated $2 million worth of the combo, which it markets under the brand name Aluvia, to the Chinese government.)
There is some evidence that the treatment might work, the authors of The Lancet paper write: A study published in 2004 showed that the combination showed "substantial clinical benefit" when given to patients who had severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which is caused by a coronavirus similar to 2019-nCoV.
But that study did not randomize patients to receive the treatment or a placebo, the gold standard for controlled trials. Rather, it compared patients given the two protease inhibitors plus ribavirin, a drug that interferes with viral replication, with SARS patients who earlier received ribavirin alone. The researchers saw an "apparent improved outcome" in the former group, which they said argued for setting up a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. But no SARS cases have been reported since 2004, and the trial never took place.
Protease inhibitors are also being tested against a third coronavirus. Saudi Arabia now has a carefully designed study underway in which patients with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) receive either the lopinavir/ritonavir combination plus interferon beta-1b, which boosts immune responses by unclear mechanisms, or a placebo. MERS is more distant on the family tree of coronaviruses from 2019-nCoV than SARS, however. And in a mouse study led by Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and published online in Nature Communications on 10 January, this drug cocktail had decidedly lackluster results.
Baric explains that proteins in the human body bind 99% of these protease inhibitors, leaving little of them to fight viruses. "They're effective against HIV because it's so damn sensitive to the drug," Baric says. Coronaviruses, by comparison, are insensitive. "You cannot achieve a free level of drug in a human that will allow it to work."
Baric's study also tested interferon beta-1b with an experimental drug made by Gilead, remdesivir, that interferes with the viral polymerase enzyme. MERS-infected mice given this combination fared far better, with reduced viral replication and improved lung function. It might work against 2019-nCoV as well. "Remdesivir has had activity against every coronavirus we've tested, and I'd be surprised if it didn't have activity against this one," says co-author Mark Denison, a virologist at Vanderbilt University who has studied coronaviruses since 1984. (Remdesivir was also tested against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year, but it didn't do nearly as well as two other treatments.)
But the researchers caution that the mouse model only approximates MERS in humans. And regardless of which drugs are used, they have a better chance of working if given soon after infection, Denison says. "The challenge with SARS, MERS, this novel coronavirus, and other viruses that cause severe pneumonia is the window of opportunity," he says. Remdesivir is good at knocking down virus levels in the body, Denison says, "but you have to get to patients early if you want to have significant impact on disease." Many people with respiratory infections only seek care when they develop severe symptoms, however, several days after they get sick.
Yuen Kwok-Yung, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong who co-authored a comprehensive analysis of potential coronavirus treatments in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery in 2016, agrees that remdesivir is the most promising drug for 2019-nCoV and MERS. "However this drug is not available in Hong Kong and China," Yuen says. He says scientists in Hong Kong—which as of 27 January had eight confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV—will also likely test lopinavir/ritonavir in combination with interferon beta-1b in randomized, controlled studies, assuming they see more patients.
Development of entirely new treatments has started as well. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has developed monoclonal antibodies to treat MERS that are now being tested in early human studies. A company spokesperson told ScienceInsider that researchers there have begun to identify similar antibodies that might work against 2019-nCoV. With Ebola, it took Regeneron only 6 months to develop candidate treatments and test them in animal models, the spokesperson noted. (A cocktail of these antibodies later came out on top in the clinical trial that also tested remdesivir, reducing mortality from Ebola by 94% when given soon after the onset of illness.)
The ideal treatment for 2019-nCoV may well be a drug like remdesivir plus monoclonal antibodies, Denison says. "The idea of using those in combination would have profoundly good prospects."