A pedestrian wears a protective mask in Alhambra, California. Picture: AP
A pedestrian wears a protective mask in Alhambra, California. Picture: AP

Coronavirus: Antibiotics do not work against viruses, says WHO

By IANS Time of article published Feb 3, 2020

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Beijing - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released information and advice to the public regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, which the world body has declared it as a global health emergency.

"Antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria," the WHO said on its official website, noting that as it was a virus, antibiotics were not effective in preventing or treating it, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, if a patient is hospitalised for the virus, the person may receive antibiotics since "bacterial co-infection is possible", the organisation added.

Up till now, there is no specific medicine for preventing or treating the virus, but some particular cures are being studied and will be tested in clinical trials, the WHO said, adding that it was working with partners to help accelerate related research and development work.

"People of all ages" can be infected with the novel coronavirus, while the elderly and ones with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease are more susceptible, the WHO said.

With regard to whether companion animals like dogs or cats can be infected with the virus, the world body said, adding that there was no evidence on it yet.

But the organisation advised people to wash hands with soap and water after contacting pets, which can help protect them against "various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans".

On Monday, the number of deaths in China rose to 361, with 17 205 confirmed cases and 475 discharged from hospital, according to the National Health Commission.

More than 152 700 people are under observation, among which there are a total of 21 558 suspected cases.

IANS

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