Coronavirus: Thailand sees apparent success in the treatment of virus with drug cocktail

BANGKOK: A Chinese woman infected with the new one showed a dramatic improvement after being treated with a cocktail of antivirals used to treat influenza and HIV, Thailand The health ministry said Sunday.

The 71-year-old patient was negative for the virus 48 hours after Thai doctors administered the combination, said Dr. Kriengsak Attipornwanich during the ministry's daily press conference.

The coronavirus positive laboratory result turned negative within 48 hours, Kriengsak said.

Because he was exhausted before, he could sit on the bed 12 hours later.

Doctors combined the oseltamivir flu medication with lopinavir and ritonavir, antiviral drugs used to treat HIV, Kriengsak said, adding that the ministry was awaiting the results of the investigation to test the findings.

The news comes when the new virus took its first life outside of China, a 44-year-old Chinese man who died in the Philippines, while the death toll in China rose above 300.

Thailand so far has detected 19 confirmed cases of the virus believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of , which is under lockdown.

That is the second largest number of cases outside of China, with Japan registering 20.

So far, eight patients in Thailand have recovered and returned home, while 11 remain in hospital.

In a video posted on Sunday, the health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, visited a Wuhan patient who had recovered from the coronavirus and chatted with her in a friendly manner in Mandarin while thanking him and the medical staff.

Thai authorities are trying to balance the detection of incoming Chinese visitors with the economic needs of their tourism sector, which depends largely on arrivals from the mainland.

Supporting messages that said Our hearts to Wuhan in English, Chinese and Thai were glued in a commercial center in Bangkok popular with tourists.

The bulk of confirmed cases have been Chinese visitors to Thailand , but on Thursday the kingdom recorded its first human-to-human transmission when a Thai taxi driver was diagnosed with the disease.

The taxi driver had not traveled to China, but could have had contact with tourists.

Thailand 's government is also battling public criticism that it has been slow to evacuate scores of its citizens from , at the centre of the outbreak.

Anutin said the evacuation would occur on Tuesday and that returnees would be quarantined for 14 days.