Chinese scientists identify drug that reduces risk of severe pneumonia during Covid-19 infection

RT – Most of the deaths arising from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have been due to severe pneumonia caused by the virus. But now Chinese researchers say they may have found a drug that reduces the risk of dangerous complications.

A group of Chinese medics studying 564 coronavirus patients, including 61 with acute pneumonia, in several hospitals across the country during January and February, have discovered an interesting pattern.

Their paper, published on the MerRix website but not yet peer-reviewed, reveals that certain drugs usually prescribed for hypertension have apparently proven effective in preventing severe pneumonia from Covid-19.

Only 6.3 percent of the hypertensive patients who were given angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ACEI/ARB), suffered from a pneumonia complication while infected by the coronavirus, according to their data.

However, among those who received alternative blood pressure treatment, the number of people with acute lung fever stood at 32.7 percent. The Chinese scientists also pointed out that “nonspecific antiviral therapy did not prevent clinical progression to severe pneumonia.”

Hypertensive patients on ACEI or ARB may be protective from severe pneumonia in Covid-19 and hence these therapies should not be ceased unless there is a strong indication or further epidemiological evidence.

The authors of the paper said that the results they’ve produced weren’t final and that further study was required.

Chinese medical workers have a unique insight on treating the coronavirus, after their country became not only the first to report cases of the highly contagious disease, but also to curb the epidemic’s progress.

To date, China has recorded 3,341 coronavirus fatalities, with 82,249 confirmed cases. But that number of deaths has since been surpassed by several nations, including the US, Italy, Spain, France and Iran.

Since the pandemic began in China’s Wuhan in December, more than 117,000 have died worldwide, with the number of confirmed cases surpassing 1.8 million, according to the WHO.