The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has already infected more than 119,000 people globally and killed at least 4,284, But there is still no known cure that could stop the virus and its seem unlikely COVID-19 drugs will arrive any time soon.
With no coronavirus cure in sight, Professor Krzysztof Pyrć from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, argued the world stands on the brink of a global emergency.
The expert virologist told the Polish Press Agency (PAP): “It if can effectively spread between people, then we have the risk of a global pandemic developing.”
The novel coronavirus is already being treated as a global emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) and efforts are focused on finding a cure.
However, Professor Pyrć said: “It is hard to tell right now what the chances are of finding a drug or vaccine that can prevent novel coronavirus infections.”
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The novel coronavirus first appeared in China’s Wuhan City last December and spread like wildfire through Hubei Province and the rest of the country.
Outside of mainland China, the virus has strongly affected South Korea, Iran and Italy.
Professor Pyrć said the new coronavirus strain belongs to a family of pathogens that have been known since the 1960s.
But the novel coronavirus has never been seen before in humans, which makes finding a cure a hard ordeal.
Professor Pyrć said: “As of today, we have managed to create the tools that will allow us to effectively test drugs.
“We have many ideas, as well as many active substances that we have developed in the past. The initial results are promising.”
It is hard to tell right now what the chances are of finding a drug or vaccine
Krzysztof Pyrć, Jagiellonian University
The virologist is part of a team researchers at the Małopolskie Biotech Centre who have been studying the coronavirus since January.
Others are also working on a cure, such as the German company CureVac, which said the first vaccine could hit the shelves in 12 months.
But there is also the risk scientists will not find a cure any time soon.
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Scientists have, for instance, been unable to develop a successful HIV vaccine, despite 40 years of research.
Professor Pyrć said: “Coronaviruses are a big family of viruses, much more diverse than animals for example.”
According to the WHO, the coronavirus attacks there respiratory system with flu-like symptoms and pneumonia.
The virus can trigger severe respiratory syndrome that can be lethal, particularly among the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions.
Other symptoms of COVOD-19 include coughing, breathing problems and fatigue.
On Monday, March 9, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus assured the world is not at the mercy of the virus.
He said: “We need to remember that with decisive, early action, we can slow down the virus and prevent infections. Among those who are infected, most will recover.
“Of the 80,000 reported cases in China, more than 70% have recovered and been discharged.
“It’s also important to remember that looking only at the total number of reported cases and the total number of countries doesn’t tell the full story.
“Of all the cases reported globally so far, 93% are from just four countries.”
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