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Coronavirus: Death toll rises to 638 globally

Chinese Health authorities have confirmed new deaths cases caused by the novel coronavirus epidemic on Thursday at 73. With this the death toll rose to 638 globally including 1 death in Philippines. Newly confirmed cases rose by 3,143, a second consecutive daily drop, bringing the total to 31211 cases in the country, according to data released on Friday morning by China’s National Health Commission. Around 240 cases have been confirmed abroad. Majority of the deaths came from Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, where 69 new fatalities from the epidemic were reported on Thursday, one less fatality compared with the day before.

The total death toll in Hubei rose to 618, the Hubei’s health commission said. Meanwhile, there were 387 new recovered cases on thursday, bringing the total cured patients so far to 1,542. Xiaogan, one of the closest cities to Wuhan, has become the second city in China with more than 2,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus – second only to the provincial capital of central China’s Hubei Province.

China has started clinical trial for remdesivir in coronavirus treatment in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital on Thursday. A 68-year-old male patient with serious symptoms was the first to be given the drug. However, Gilead Sciences Inc which developed Remdisivir said on Thursday that the drug is not yet licensed or approved anywhere globally and it has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective for coronavirus infection treatment.

The company said it had filed patent applications for the drug’s use on coronaviruses in China and some other countries and regions in 2016, but it has not yet received approval in China. It said, its focus is now on rapidly determining remdesivir’s potential as a treatment for the 2019 novel coronavirus, rather than discussing compulsory licensing or any other kind of permissions for drug manufacturing. The comments came after the Wuhan Institute of Virology said on Wednesday that it had filed a patent application to use remdesivir to treat the novel coronavirus on January 21, which has sparked debate on China’s social media about intellectual property issues. 

Meanwhile, Japan has found 41 additional coronavirus cases on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess carrying over 3,700 people, bringing the total number of infected on the ship to 61. The new cases on the Diamond Princess bring Japan’s total number of confirmed cases to 86, the second highest figure after China.

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