The initial outcomes of clinical trials for Japanese drug “Avigan” used in treating the coronavirus (COVID-19), are encouraging, says Mohamed Hashem, Head of the National Research Centre (NRC).
Hashem said, in a statement on Tuesday, that the NRC is currently studying the effectiveness of over 70 drugs in treating the virus.
The NRC has assigned several research teams in related fields to devise vaccines or drugs to fight the spread of the virus. The research is based on the experience of the centre’s virologists.
Hashem confirmed that the centre is an independent research unit affiliated with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. All its activities, whether related to the coronavirus or other research activities assigned by the state, follow the ministry’s guidance.
He stressed that the centre does not receive funding from any external parties. Hashem’s statements came in response to claims that the centre receives funds from foreign bodies.
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said, during the operation room meeting on handling Egypt’s COVID-19 crisis, that seven research papers have been approved for clinical trials at Ain Shams University. He added that two additional papers are on their way to approval.
In the meantime, a study published in Nature Medicine on Wednesday suggested that coronavirus patients may begin to transmit infectious SARS-CoV-2 two or three days before the first symptoms appear.
Several factors can affect control measures designed to prevent the spread of the virus. These include the time between successive cases in a chain of transmission (serial interval), and the period between exposure to an infection and the appearance of symptoms (incubation period).
According to the paper, if the serial interval is shorter than the incubation period, this would indicate that transmission may have happened before overt symptoms develop. As a result, control measures that take place at the point at which symptoms appear may have a reduced effect in controlling the spread of infection.