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Four more coronavirus cases confirmed in the UK

Secretary of State declares outbreak a “serious and imminent threat”

Coronavirus

As four more cases of coronavirus are confirmed in the UK, Secretary of State Priti Patel has declared the outbreak a “serious and imminent threat to public health”.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus – also known as 2019-nCoV – in the UK has now doubled from the previously announced four, with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announcing new powers to keep people in quarantine as concerns increase over the spread of the virus.

Currently, there have been over 40,000 cases confirmed globally, although most of those are in China, where the outbreak began.

Out of the confirmed cases, the death toll stands at 908 in China, although the number of new cases confirmed per day has stabilised, according to the BBC.

The newly confirmed UK cases all came into contact with a previously confirmed UK case, which was transmitted in France.

Although the Secretary of State has declared the outbreak a “serious and imminent threat”, the official threat level announced by Public Health England remains moderate.

Under the newly announced measures, the government will now be able to forcibly quarantine those who it deems a threat to public health.

Public health organisations, governmental bodies and drug developers have mobilised as the coronavirus continues to pose a threat to global public health.

This includes the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which said it will authorise the emergency use of the Centers for Disease control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2019-nCov diagnostic panel to detect the coronavirus in “individuals who meet CDC criteria for 2019-nCoV testing”.

So far, this test has been restricted for use only at CDC laboratories, but now will be able to be used at any CDC-qualified lab across the country.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also announced that it will support drug developers with all available regulatory tools to advance the development of therapeutics and vaccines for the virus.

Meanwhile in China, the country most affected by the coronavirus, up to a dozen clinical trials are set to start, including a study which will test the efficacy and safety of arbidol, an antiviral treatment, in 2019-nCoV patients.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also said it will accelerate research into the coronavirus, and will hold a forum on 11-12 February in Geneva to "bring together key players including leading scientists as well as public health agencies, ministries of health and research funders” who are working on the “research and the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, among other innovations” for the novel coronavirus.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

10th February 2020

From: Healthcare

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