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Thailand's antiviral cocktail vs. nCoV still for WHO's validation —Duque

The mix of flu and HIV antivirals, which reportedly spurred dramatic improvement in the health condition of a patient with novel coronavirus in Thailand, is still being validated by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday.

"Pinapa-validate 'yan ng WHO sa kasalukuyan. Wala raw malinaw na batayan para sabihin iyan kaya patuloy ang pananaliksik, patuloy ang pag-aaral ukol dito sa bagong development," Duque said in an interview on Dobol B sa NewsTV aired on GMA News TV.

Thai doctors administered anti-flu drug oseltamivir mixed with HIV antivirals lopinavir and ritonavir to a 71-year-old Chinese patient infected with novel coronavirus. The patient reportedly tested negative for the virus after 48 hours.

The 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) is caused by a new strain of coronavirus previously unknown among humans. It already claimed 350 lives in China and one in the Philippines.

The virus is believed to have originated from an illegal wildlife market in China's Wuhan City.

"To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. However, those infected with 2019-nCoV should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care," the WHO said on its website.

It also discouraged self-medication with antibiotics as these medicines only work on bacterial infections, not against viruses.

Meanwhile, the Pasteur Institute Foundation in France on Friday said it had set up a task force to work on a vaccine against the coronavirus that could be made available in 20 months "if all goes well." —Dona Magsino/KG, GMA News