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February 14, 2020

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Clinical trials for coronavirus drug

SHANGHAI has launched clinical trials to test the efficiency of an anti-rheumatic drug in the treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia, according to academician Chen Kaixian.

As yet, there is no specific medicine for treating the virus. As new drug development takes time, local scientists have been researching existing drugs in the possible treatment of the coronavirus, Chen, of the China Academy of Social Sciences, said at a press conference yesterday.

Hydroxychloroquine, which can decrease the pain and swelling caused by arthritis, has been approved for clinical trials by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Health Commission.

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co and the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under the CAS are carrying out the tests at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center.

“Medicines are key weapons against the novel coronavirus, and they are urgently needed. Researchers are racing against the clock to find an effective treatment. But it takes a long time,” Chen said.

Despite the difficulties, Shanghai researchers have made some progress in the drug’s development.

Researchers from ShanghaiTech University have revealed the high-resolution crystal structure of the viral main proteinase (Mpro) of the novel coronavirus. The Mpro, which controls the activities of the coronavirus replication complex, is an attractive target for therapy.

Also, the two P3 laboratories of Fudan University and the Shanghai Disease Control and Prevention Center have isolated four new coronavirus strains. Chen said their work has greatly promoted the development of new drugs.


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