Amid growing speculation that nCoV-2019, aka novel coronavirus, aka the virus behind the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic, was developed in a lab (and not just any lab, but the BSL-4 rated “biological weapons” grade Wuhan Institute of Virology, located in… well, Wuhan) which was then released accidentally (or not) among the broader population – a thesis which China’s official press is scrambling to refute even as more supportive evidence emerges by the day – we would like to point out that earlier this week, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which as Nature in 2017 said studies the “world’s most dangerous pathogens”, has jointly with the Military Medicine Institute of the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Science, i.e. with China’s Army, applied to patent the use of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir to treat the current coronavirus outbreak.
The company has partnered with Chinese health authorities to run a Phase III clinical trial to assess remdesivir for treatment of the virus. The drug was originally developed to treat the Ebola virus, but wasn’t effective. According to preclinical assays the drug might be effective against the coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, as was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The drug was given to a U.S. patient for compassionate use on day seven of the disease and their condition improved on day eight.
The new clinical trial of an anti-Ebola drug to fight Coronavirus, will be conducted at Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. The trial will enroll 270 patients with mild and moderate pneumonia caused by the virus.
“Gilead is working closely with global health authorities to respond to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak through the appropriate experimental use of our investigational compound remdesivir. While there are no antiviral data for remdesivir that show activity against 2019-nCoV at this time, available data in other coronaviruses give us hope,” the company stated.
The Wuhan Institute submitted the patent application jointly with the Military Medicine Institute of the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Science. Researchers with both organizations noted in a paper published in Nature’s Cell Research this week that both remdesivir and chloroquine,