China has been battling an outbreak of a pneumonia-like illness, first detected in the central city of Wuhan in December 2019, for over a month. The spate of illnesses is caused by a novel coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, which has now infected about 40,000 people and claimed more than 900 lives.
The illness was first reported to the World Health Organization on New Year’s Eve and in the intervening month was” the same family responsible for SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome, as well as some cases of the common cold.
There are no approved treatments for coronaviruses, but on Feb. 6, China started enrolling a small number of patients in a clinical trial of remdesivir, an experimental antiviral made by American pharmaceutical company Gilead that has not yet been approved for any use, but has shown promise in lab studies. “While there…
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