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Medical breakthrough in Italy, Netherlands to deal with coronavirus
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Medical breakthrough in Italy, Netherlands to deal with coronavirus

Two major developments have taken place in terms of the global efforts to deal with the coronavirus — one in Italy and the other in the Netherlands.
According to Italian news agency ANSA, three patients suffering with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus have got better on an arthritis drug, a Naples hospital has said.
The patients at Cotugno Hospital have shown "a major improvement" after being treated with Tolicizumab, Paolo Ascierto, head of clinical immunology at another city hospital, the Pascale.
Other Italian hospitals have reported similar improvements of virus-linked pneumonia after treatment with the drug.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the first specialised drug to attack the coronavirus has been developed. It is a monoclonal antibody, specialised in recognizing the protein that the virus uses to attack human respiratory cells.
The research is published on the BioRxiv website by the group of the Dutch University of Utrecht led by Chunyan Wang. The researchers told the BBC that it will take months before the drug is available because it will have to be tested for answers on safety and efficacy.
By binding to the Spike protein, which is found on the surface of the coronavirus, the monoclonal antibody prevents it from attaching the cells and in this way makes it impossible for the virus to penetrate inside them to replicate. For this reason, researchers are convinced that the antibody has important potential "for the treatment and prevention of Covid 19".
The researchers were already working on an antibody to Sars when the Covid-19 epidemic exploded and realized that the antibodies effective against the first disease could also block the second.
Studies are still ongoing and the antibody has to undergo very rigorous testing, but the researchers hope to convince a pharmaceutical company to manufacture it.
According to Utrecht scientists, it would take much less time than developing a new vaccine for the new coronavirus.
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