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Chief Infectologist: Epidemic Curve Stable

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.05.16.

The epidemic curve in Hungary is stable and there are promising drug and vaccine trials underway for the virus across the world, the chief infectologist of St. László Hospital said at an online press conference on Saturday.

János Szlávik expressed hope that the epidemic would end soon. “We don’t know when and how it will end, and it’s also possible that the virus will stay with us throughout the year in smaller centres of infection,” he said.

In this situation, he added, certain epidemiological measures must be maintained and it is also necessary to immediately isolate and treat any infected case because that is the only way to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

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“Let’s hope that we will have a proven effective antiviral drug,” he said, adding that anti-malaria, type C hepatitis and anti-HIV drugs are already being used, and that various drug combinations and antibiotics are being tried to cure patients.

He said that an antiviral drug developed in Japan is available in Hungary, which can be used effectively in mild to moderate cases in the early stages of the disease, and that an intravenous drug developed in the United States is available to treat those who are in a severe and life-threatening condition because of the virus.

“We are also making good progress with immunotherapy and plasma therapy, both of which have been used to save lives,” he said.

Szlávik expressed hope that there will also be an effective vaccine, which some say will be available in large amounts in the autumn, or in winter, but next spring at the latest. The vaccine will first be given to vulnerable groups and healthcare workers.

Speaking about people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, Szlavik said it was earlier thought that this group was exposed to the infection due to the immunodeficiency, but it seems that those who take the drugs regularly and have a good immune system do not carry a high risk of infection, in fact, they seem to be protected against it.

He added that so far one HIV-infected patient has been found to have been infected with the novel coronavirus in Hungary; he was elderly and suffered from several chronic diseases.

Featured photo by Attila Kovács/MTI