Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA -- There is no known cure for the novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reiterated on Tuesday.
 
"There's no vaccine to prevent the 2019-nCoV because it is a new strain. There's no specific treatment except supportive care,” Duque said in his speech at the joint hearing of the Senate Committees on Health and Demography and Finance on the government’s preparedness on the global public health threat.
 
According to the World Health Organization, Chinese authorities identified on Jan. 7 the 2019-nCoV as belonging to a family of common colds viruses and the more serious ones —severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
 
Most people get infected with coronaviruses with symptoms ranging from typically mild to moderate, and it can cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis in some cases.
 
Such viruses are common among animals but can evolve and spread from animals to humans.
 
Earlier, Duque defined the improvement of a 71-year-old Chinese woman infected with the 2019-nCoV after taking a cocktail of anti-virals for treating flu and HIV as "anecdotal because 80 percent of cases in China are considered mild".
 
"So the possibility that they are recovering very quickly is very high, 21 percent is severe so baka 'yung nakuhang pasiyente ay nandoon sa mild, kaya siguro nagpapakita ng (the patient might be under the mild category that's why she's showing) signs of recovery concomitantly with the combination therapy," Duque said.
 
He added that there is “no hard science” to prove such anecdote or theory. 
 
In its health advisories, the Department of Health said proper handwashing, observance of proper cough etiquette, avoiding contact with animals, avoiding large crowds, drinking plenty of water, proper cooking of food, and consultation with a health facility if symptoms of cough and colds persist, are the public's best defense against the virus.
 
To date, the DOH has reported a total of 105 2019-nCov cases -- one in Cordillera Administrative Region, one in Cagayan Valley, three in Ilocos Region, 16 in Central Luzon, 36 in the National Capital Region, four in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), four in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), 10 in Western Visayas, 16 in Central Visayas, three in Eastern Visayas, five in Northern Mindanao and six in Davao. (PNA)