Woman on brink of death from coronavirus is saved by US doctors thanks to experimental drug – The Sun

A CORONAVIRUS patient believed to be on the brink of death has recovered after being given an experimental drug.

The woman, who contracted the illness in the US, was a test subject for 'remdesivir' and is said to be 'doing well'.

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George Thompson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, who helped to provide care to the patient said: "We thought she was going to pass away.

"The day after the infusion of the drug, she consistently got better."

The woman, who had not travelled to an infected country and is not known to have any contact with a COVID-19 patient, was given her first dose 36 hours after her diagnosis.

On Feburary 26 she tested positive for coronavirus.

Dr Thompson said the woman is "doing well", but said that more tests will be needed to determine how effective the drug is in tackling coronavirus as scientists were unable to test for a polymerase chain reaciton (PCR).

This would allow them to study the virus's altered state after treatment.

"I can't prove it's related. I wish we had been able to do serial PCR testing of her blood, but we couldn't because of lack of resources," Dr Thompson said.

The day after the infusion of the drug, she consistently got better.

"With most investigational drugs tested in, say, macaque monkeys, there’s a nice correlation between the administration of the drug and a drop in the amount of virus in the blood.

"That's what we hoped we could have seen in this patient."

He explained that there are also risks when it comes to treating coronavirus patients with drugs who may not need them, adding that it could cause liver toxicity.

"For most any infectious disease, I think the earlier we start drugs the better," he continued.

"But it’s a risk versus benefit question. What if this drug causes liver toxicity in 50% of the people, and we've given it to somebody who was probably going to do well without it?"

Remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat ebola, is seen as a frontrunner among the potential treatments for COVID-19 which are currently being tested.

Last week a Spanish coronavirus patient has recovered after being treated with an HIV and multiple sclerosis drug.

Miguel Angel Benitez, 62, made a full recovery at the Virgen del Rocio Hospital in Seville after being given the medicine that stops the bug multiplying in the blood.

Benitez — who became the country's first case last month — was treated with the antiretroviral drug lopinavir-ritonavir, sold under the brand name Kaletra.

This is usually used to treat HIV patients.

Doctors also injected Mr Benitez with beta interferons, proteins which reduce inflammation and treat MS sufferers.

The tablets, known as protease inhibitor drugs, stop the virus from multiplying in the blood.

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