The coronavirus carnage continues to torment the world, with more than 8,000 people dead and upwards of 200,000 people infected. Even as a sure-fire cure for the deadly virus is not expected, there's some progress in the efforts to develop a vaccine for the Wuhan virus, named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation. Meanwhile, agency reports said on Thursday the Japanese may have found a cure for the disease - traditional medicine Avigan which has Favipiravir as one of the main ingredients.

According to IANS, medical experts in China have said the Japanese flu drug is 'clearly effective' in treating the coronavirus. The report said that favipiravir was used in trails on as many as 340 patients stricken with the coronavirus disease in China. The report said patients who were administered the drug recovered faster and that they had greater lung improvement compared with patients who did not receive this drug.

Coronavirus status as of 18 March, 2020
Coronavirus status as of 18 March, 2020 GISAID

Favipiravir was effective in assisting faster recovery

Researchers in Hong Kong are conducting more investigations to arrive at safe dosages and that the pill will be given 'for free' if tests return positive outcomes. Hong Kong is also lining up an oral medicine using favipiravir. This was developed by Hong Kong-based Sihuan Pharmaceutical.

Favipiravir was effective in assisting faster recovery in people infected with coronavirus and that the medicine had no obvious side-effects, an official at China's Science and Technology Ministry, said. "After all the efforts and preparations, our group is fully prepared for favipiravir's raw material and preparation production," Sihuan Pharmaceutical's executive director Che Fengsheng said.

Meanwhile, in signs that the coronavirus epidemic is coming under control in China, Beijing reported only 34 new cases of Covid-19 infection. However, no domestic case was reported in the country, for the first time. The number of deaths has also reduced to a single-digit, with 8 deaths being reported on Wednesday.

China Human trial
China COVID-19 vaccine trial (Representational picture) Pixabay

Worsening fortunes for Italy

Signalling worsening fortunes for Italy, 475 new deaths from the novel coronavirus were reported in the country on Wednesday. This was the highest one-day official toll in any nation, including China. Total deaths in Italy touched 2,978, and the number of infections rose to 35,713. The number of new Covid-19 cases rose by 2,943 in Spain, 2,960 in Germany, 1,404 in France and 676 in UK.

Human trial of the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Moderna Inc, was initiated on Monday, March 16, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington. However, the vaccine for public use will take at least 12 to 18 months to be produced. The vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA, CNBC reported. The mRNA is the genetic code that tells cells how to make a protein. This is set to instruct the body's own cellular mechanisms to mimic virus protein, thus developing antibodies, thereby boosting the body's immunity.