virus coronavirus COVID-19

Turkey begins to use a Chinese medicine against coronavirus

The drug, also used in France, improves patients condition in intensive care. Turkey’s health minister has acknowledged that the virus “has spread virtually throughout the country.”

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed on Tuesday that Turkey has started using a medicine imported from China to fight the coronavirus, which according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health has infected 1,872 people and caused 44 deaths in the Eurasian country.

“As of this morning we are using a special medication used in China that is said to have results in improving patients in intensive care, shortening the time they spend in care from 11-12 days to 4,” Koca told reporters.

While the minister did not provide further details on the drug, drugs such as chloroquine – used against malaria – have been used to treat COVID-19 patients in China and France. According to some research, chloroquine has promising results, although there is a scientific consensus that more trials are needed to determine if this drug is both effective and 100% safe.

Koca also announced late Monday that Turkey had imported 50,000 rapid virus detection kits from China capable of delivering a result in less than 10 minutes, and that it expects to receive another 300,000 on March 26th. “We have reached agreements to use up to a million tests,” Koca said, adding that the Chinese government has agreed with Ankara to increase its cooperation and share information about COVID-19.

The minister did not offer details on where the new positive cases are being registered in Turkey, although he did acknowledge for the first time that the coronavirus has spread throughout the country. “Initially the cases came mostly from abroad, but I can tell you that through contact it has increased … It has spread practically throughout the country,” he admitted.