Thai Doctors Claim a Chinese Corona Virus Breakthrough

MERS Corona Virus, part of the same family as the Chinese Corona Virus. By Maureen Metcalfe/Cynthia Goldsmith/Azaibi Tamin –, Public Domain, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Thai doctors are cautiously optimistic about early positive results treating a patient infected with the deadly Chinese Corona virus, by using a mixture of a HIV drugs and anti-flu medications. The Thais attempted the treatment after reviewing previous attempts to treat other strains of Corona virus using the same combination of drugs.

Thailand Sees Good Result From Using Drug Mixture on Coronavirus

By Suttinee Yuvejwattana 2 February 2020, 19:16 GMT+10 Updated on 3 February 2020, 16:44 GMT+10

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A cocktail of antiviral drugs appeared effective in treating a seriously ill coronavirus patient, a Thai health official said.

The HIV medicines lopinavir and ritonavir, which are sold by AbbVie Inc. as the product Kaletra, was used on three patients in conjunction with the anti-flu medication oseltamivir, sold by Roche Holding AG and Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. as Tamiflu, Somkiat Lalitwongsa, director of the Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok told reporters Monday.

Kaletra is already being studied in a randomized, controlled trial — the gold standard for testing new medical products — in novel coronavirus patients in Wuhan, China. The decision by Thai doctors to give the flu drug was based on research that indicated it helped some patients afflicted with the more-deadly coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome. A study by researchers in France recommended it be used in these so-called MERS patients, but discontinued if tests show they don’t have the flu.

There’s not enough evidence to support the effectiveness just yet,” Somkiat said. “But we report to contribute to the medical community globally. The results look good so far.”

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Obviously there are some pretty serious caveats. Thailand has a substantial HIV rate of 1.3%, so it is possible the HIV drug produced improved outcomes because a disproportionate number of the people showing severe symptoms have AIDS – though the doctors who announced this preliminary result must have been aware of this possibility.

On the other hand, in the midst of a WHO declared global health emergency, any glimmer of hope is worth further investigation.

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February 3, 2020 10:17 pm

Great news.

John Culhane
February 3, 2020 10:32 pm

Good practice is washing your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water to kill the virus if it is on your hands and that was the advice on previous virus spreads like SARS.

Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Coronavirus Lurking in Feces May Reveal Hidden Risk of Spread

Reply to  John Culhane
February 4, 2020 6:17 am

In China, feces spreads via their primitive plumbing/toilet infrastructure and poor hygiene practices. One study showed that nearly 50% of Chinese in the mainland didn’t wash their hands after defecation and before eating. I hope that that changes for the better. Bon appetit!

Reply to  John Culhane
February 4, 2020 4:22 pm

John, I read a study earlier this winter that pertains to your post. The study results showed that when Influenza B is suspended in mucus it takes up to 5 minutes for alcohol based hand sanitizer to kill the virus. I’m really not sure there’s any substitute for properly washing ones hands as recommended by health officials during flu season.

February 3, 2020 10:51 pm

Great to see good news from Thailand. Thank you for this post. Hope it’s for real.

February 3, 2020 11:00 pm

Its great news, but only if the epicentre remains in China. The next week should tell if the Corona virus has the ability to become a problem elsewhere.

charles nelson
February 3, 2020 11:08 pm

On January 24th a piece in WUWT contained the following:
Update (EW): South China Post reports the virus has appeared in 29 of China’s 31 provinces, and that large numbers of doctors and nurses are infected.
If this is true then by now the death toll in China must already be in the millions…right?

Rob JM
Reply to  charles nelson
February 3, 2020 11:48 pm

Reading between the lines
Currently 40000 cases of viral pneumonia
Which will result in 15-20% death rate if you receive quality medical care.
200,000 people being montored, ie infected
Pretty much all in one city.

Reply to  Rob JM
February 4, 2020 1:18 pm

Could you provide your sources?
15-20% death rate from Corona virus?

Where did you get the 400000 from?

Reply to  Wim Röst
February 4, 2020 2:41 am

Actual ?

Whilst I’d be prepared to accept the data from not China simply due to the very low number of cases, the China data has to be suspect. Most would undoubtedly point the CCP rigging the count, its probably more reasonable to suggest that the Chinese health system is more concerned with actual medicine than actual statistics at this point ?

Or to put it another way, the poor buggers will be up to their eyes in it, and I doubt keeping us informed is their first priority. 🙂

Wim Röst
Reply to  Fanakapan
February 4, 2020 4:55 am

Fanakapan: “Actual ?”

WR: The data are constantly updated and are conform WHO reports:
The WHO reports follow at the end of the day.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Wim Röst
February 4, 2020 11:44 am

WHO can only report the data given them. They do not perform independent data gathering. If the Chinese (or anyone else) fudge the inputs, then the WHO reports are so much confetti.

Reply to  Wim Röst
February 5, 2020 4:37 am

To be serious in this reply, I live and work in Beijing and have a close coworker from Wuhan.

The Chinese numbers are badly understated, but could be as real as they can be- because it is impossible for them to be real. The govt is only providing a limited number of test kits to Wuhan on a daily basis (2000, I think the number is) for a city of 11 million, and people won’t go anywhere near a hospital until pneumonia has begun to develop or a neighbor has turned them in to the police because they heard a cough through the wall and the person was forced to go. (Videos online)

Some cities have barricaded people into their houses via piping used to hold the doors closed (doors here in China almost always open outward making that possible), literally trapping suspected sufferers in their house until they beg the police to escort them to a hospital just so they can get out. (Videos online)

But probably 90% of people won’t develop symptoms worse than a flu and recover without ever going to a hospital. The ones who succcumb appear to be those with issues causing mitochondrial problems- the elderly, diabetics, and genetic disorders. Children have not been dying or even getting seriously sick that anyone I know is aware of, and I am tapped into hospitals here in Beijing.

If I had to guess, I would lean towards claims that 75000 are infected is probably a low ball. 200,000 is probably closer to the mark as of the time I am writing this but most of them will never know it because almost no one ia going to be proactive about getting tested, and almost all of them will get better- the death rate for all countries not China is currently at 1%, so I think the 2% death rate being admitted to in China based on confirmed cases probably isn’t off by all that much, and even with officials putting thumbs on the scales I doubt it would exceed 4% if the numbers were honest.

Much lower than SARS or MERS. And in absolute numbers, the bog standard flu is going to kill far more people this season.

On a lighter note, traffic in Beijing is the best it has been in over 20 years.

Reply to  charles nelson
February 4, 2020 2:32 am

Are you suggesting there may not be enough chaps in the pathology department to deal with the volume of tests, and that consequently the data may be to a certain extent unreliable ?

Reply to  Fanakapan
February 5, 2020 4:05 pm

China isn’t making enough test kits available to test a sufficient number of people, regardless of how many technicians are available to test. Wuhan is limited to 2000 test kits per day according to reports.

Meanwhile, of the 5 crematoriums in Wuhan, at least one of them has been running at capacity (100 people a day) for the past week. Wuhan has 11 million people, cremation is required by law, and many of the current cremations are for causes other than the virus, but it still says there is a high likelihood the Chinese official death numbers due to the virus are on the low end.

February 3, 2020 11:30 pm

Meanwhile, The Sun, that great British medical journal well known for its specialised study of the female thorax, reports that the virus can be cured with hot whisky and honey.

Rod Evans
Reply to  RoHa
February 4, 2020 12:33 am

Hey don’t knock it. If it works great, if it fails, well at least you go out with a silly smile on your face.

Reply to  RoHa
February 4, 2020 1:11 am

Are you sure you don’t make the corona virus better by using a slice of lemon in your throat?

Reply to  LdB
February 4, 2020 3:51 am

It’s a slice of lime, not lemon.

Reply to  RoHa
February 5, 2020 3:55 am

I am living in Beijing and can attest to the efficacy of the hot toddy medicinal. Except I am using lime instead of lemon, salt instead of honey, and iced instead of hot. Oh, and a nice anejo tequila that I sip each night (Agavales, though I have a good selection to keep me entertained when that bottle runs out, including a 100 proof Dolce Vida anejo [I highly recommend] if things get really serious).

No Corona here, that is just alcohol on training wheels!

Baron Villanueva
February 4, 2020 12:19 am

Alex Jones reported that there have been studies from India saying that the corona virus bears signatures of HIV which suggest that this was an engineered virus. Either it was part of a vaccine study that escaped from the Wuhan virology lab or it really is an escaped bio weapon. By coincidence it also is affected by anti HIV drugs. Get your tin foil hats everyone!

Justin Burch
Reply to  Baron Villanueva
February 4, 2020 7:51 am

No, not the case. WRONG! The study in India has been utterly debunked. All viruses that infect humans have certain parts in common or they can’t get into human cells. The four they used are common to all viruses and the HIV match was very very low, below 60% in one case. It’s like saying because both a Honda Civic and and Ford F150 both wheels they are the same. If this were a bioweapon we would already know because we have the sequence. As for the HIV meds, they work in a general fashion that stops viruses and so would help with any virus. To extend the analogy of cars, you have someone going around taking the keys away from anyone approaching the parking lot. A lot of cars won’t start. I did this stuff for a living as a database analyst of genetics. The paper is GARBAGE. It’s the kind of result you get when you give an ignoramus a computer and database to play in.

michael hart
Reply to  Justin Burch
February 4, 2020 8:37 am

It’s the kind of result you get when you give an ignoramus a computer and database to play in.

There’s fame and funding waiting for them should they choose to pursue Climate Science instead.

Justin Burch
Reply to  michael hart
February 4, 2020 10:23 am

Exactly! This is how climate science works too.

Baron Villanueva
Reply to  Justin Burch
February 5, 2020 6:56 am

Really? who debunked it and how did they debunk it. Please give a proper explanation instead of some car analogy. I’m not saying you are wrong but if you want a proper discussion you need to into details. Otherwise all the arguments agsinst AGW have also been “debunked”

Roger Knights
February 4, 2020 1:47 am

Here’s JoNova’s latest thread on the topic—a big grab bag of news and interpretations of all sorts. Worth reading:
“Corona Virus update — may be Pandemic — so much unknown”

Coram Deo
February 4, 2020 2:27 am

Russia’s Ministry of Health names three drugs that can treat new Chinese coronavirus


Reply to  Coram Deo
February 4, 2020 2:46 am

From the article;

”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”

Asymptomatic infectivity period currently being stated at 5 to 14 days ?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Coram Deo
February 4, 2020 3:51 am

Good for all of us, if they did. But it’s a little early to be declaring victory.

February 4, 2020 3:43 am

Tamiflu is pretty much an expensive dud drug from what I have read, if used early it might…lessen symptoms slightly and reduce the time youre miserable with a normal flu by about a day.
Zinc works as well for that if not better and without the side effects listed for Tamiflu as well.
my bet is its thr HIV meds that worked and one other test run used an interferon based drug, didnt pay much attention
those drugs will be in short supply and expensive normally, let alone in a crisis.
Chinas other unmentioned issue might be the fake or “cut” antibiotics they could be using, and resistance in populations due to the same problems.
admitted now is 20k+ and deaths over 400 doubling affected people nearly daily.
theynow have farm drones used to spray paddocks being used to spray rural towns homes etc
so my surmise about rural populations being as bad or maybe worse might be correct

February 4, 2020 5:32 am

Not to make a fine point but:
No deaths in Thailand from the “deadly Wuhan virus.”
One death in the Philippines from a sick Chinese National that flew in from (drum roll) China.
Other than the lone Philippines death, zero deaths in all nations outside of China as confirmed cases “skyrocket”.

Meanwhile, CDC reports in the Dec 2019-Jan 2020 period between 10,000 to 25,000 deaths due to the seasonal respiratory viruses pandemic’ing around the world. Majority killed are elders and infants and immune compromised person — as usual.

And the Wuhan edition of a respiratory pathogen doesn’t seem to be all that contagious. What is instructed is how ineffective the quarantine methods are. Ether everyone stays home, for a month(?) or perhaps working on improving detection would be better? Even a universal respiratory vaccine might be useful? Or trashing the Standard Western Diets and go to lifestyles that strengthen immune systems to avoid premature deaths (think low-carb, high fat, moderate protein — Keto type diets with moderate exercise).

Infants would seem to be a group that could be isolated at modest cost. For elders, one must confront what, exactly, is a premature death? Then pick the preferred cause: heart attack, cancer, dementia, etc., etc., even respiratory viruses. You will die.

Oh, and as some pointed out, Thailand has lots of HIV cases. One might say “immune compromised” cases. And every single one of them will die, many prematurely. Of the prematurely, it’s just which opportunistic pathogen/disease wins the race.

Get a grip. Do all those things you’ve been told to do to avoid respiratory virus infections (add the diet-exercise above). Then, when you inevitably catch one, do the things to lessen the effect. And for the 2 or 3% of you that develop follow on infections, or even seem to, go to the doc ASAP. They have treatments. And if you’re simply elderly and compromised, may you have had a good life.

February 4, 2020 6:06 am

I hope it works.

Chris Clark
February 4, 2020 8:25 am

Just to add a further little twist to this story, there are currently a number of lawsuits challenging Roche’s anti-viral product Tamiflu as ineffective, providing no greater relief than paracetamol. So much for governments spending billions to stockpile an apparently useless drug for the last 15 or so years. Rather deflates the above claims by the Thai docs.

February 4, 2020 5:36 pm

Although overkill for most viral infections, a therapeutic plasma exchange from healthy donors would likely help the body fight coronavirus as well.
But damn is it expensive.

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