Poland is not indifferent to the global threat of the coronavirus and with the growing number of cases worldwide scientists at the Jagiellonian University (UJ) of Kraków join the international struggle against the new all-human challenge.
“Teams worldwide, and also at the UJ, initiate research that will allow the understanding of the coronavirus and create an efficient medicine in the future,” virologist Krzysztof Pyrć told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
“The pace of research… is impressive. Only a couple of weeks have passed since the first infections and we already know how the virus is constructed and how its genome looks like, we also have an initial classification of the disease,” the scientist said.
Mr Pyrć is of the opinion that the progress of work and the response of physicians and decision-makers are incomparably better than in the case of SARS in 2002. The scientist also said that laboratories worldwide have already initiated research to design an efficient medicine and vaccine against the virus.
“We are working on it also in the Małopolskie Biotechnology Centre at the UJ,” said Mr Pyrć.
When asked whether other medicine, such as anti-virus drugs administered to HIV-infected patients, could prove effective, Mr Pyrć confirmed that using such remedies had been underway. Nevertheless, the scientist stressed that even if a drug turns out efficient in a laboratory environment, it does not prove its efficiency at patient treatment.
Regarding the quarantine of the 11-mln-civilian city of Wuhan, Mr Pyrć said that it “is the best possible solution for the time being and one that may bring to a halt or slow down the spreading of the epidemic.” However, it is doubtful whether this would stop the virus.
Firstly, the virus has already spread to other parts of the globe, including Europe and the US. Secondly, the quarantine itself may not prove entirely effective as many people may take their chances on escaping the city. Thirdly, according to the scientist, it remains unknown from what animal does the virus expand to humans. For this reason, it may continue to spread outside of the closed contamination zone.
According to the latest report by Poland’s Embassy in China, there are 27 Polish citizens in Wuhan and its vicinity. There is no data on any of them having contracted coronavirus.