Doctors in Thailand say they have successfully treated one Wuhan coronavirus patient with a cocktail of antiviral drugs, according to a briefing on February 2, from the country’s Ministry of Health. Dr. Kriangsak Atipornwanich, a medical doctor at Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok, combined the anti-flu drug oseltamivir with lopinavir and ritonavir – antivirals used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Atipornwanich said that the 71-year-old Chinese female patient from Wuhan was able to sit up in her bed after 48 hours of the treatment, after previously being unable to do so. “I had treated a patient with [a] severe condition, and the result has been very satisfactory. The patient’s condition has improved very quickly within 48 hours. And the test result has also changed from being positive into negative within 48 hours as well,” Dr. Atipornwanich said.
No trace of the virus was reportedly found in the patient’s respiratory system after receiving the new treatment. Thailand’s health ministry has since begun research on the new coronavirus treatment to prove these findings.
Effect of coronavirus on Thailand
So far, 19 confirmed cases have been detected in Thailand, including its first human-to-human transmission to a non-Chinese national with a Thai taxi driver contracting the virus on January 31.
Thailand’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the Wuhan coronavirus, with Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai being three popular stops for Chinese tourists. “Looking at data from January 29, international passenger arrivals at Phuket airport dropped 32.95% compared to the same date in 2019. For the previous day, January 28, the shortfall was 29.80%,” according to Bill Barnett from c9hotelworks.com, a leading regional hotel consultancy.
According to the Bangkok Post, more than 300 tour buses in Phuket were left idle for over a week since there were no Chinese tour groups due to the virus outbreak.
In the last week of January, the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index slumped to 3% – the lowest in more than three years. Airports of Thailand PCL (AOT) also fell to a seven-month low, at 6%. The increasing rise of coronavirus cases is expected to further negatively impact the Thai economy across all sectors – tourism, manufacturing, export, retail and agriculture.