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Professor Hui’s update on therapy of Novel Coronavirus


The World Health Organization has announced that “COVID-19” is now the official name for the illness caused by the deadly novel coronavirus. 

世界衛生組織把新型冠狀病毒引起的疾病定名為 COVID-19。


The epidemic is raging globally. Up to 12 February, there were more than 40,000 confirmed cases, with a death toll of more than 1,000. More than 4,000 people have recovered. Behind these figures, we may have a lot of questions in mind. In a family, why are some members infected and some members not? Will a recovered person be infected again? Are there any medicines, any vaccines for this infectious disease? 



We’ve invited Professor David Hui of CUHK, who is in Geneva attending the international experts meeting convened by World Health Organization to explain the details.

我們請來正在瑞士日內瓦出席世界衛生組織就 COVID-19召開的專家會議的中大許樹昌教授為我們一一解答。


Q1: What are the conditions of the infected cases?

A: Around 20% of them are in a serious condition, and most of these have a chronic illness such as diabetes, preexisting organ failure, immunocompromised conditions and obesity. The majority of the remaining has relative mild disease.

Q1: 為何有些確診人士完全沒有病徵?一個家庭裡面,為什麼有些成員被感染,亦有成員可以完全不被感染?

A: 事實上,大部分受感染的人士會有徵狀,根據現時的數據,約98%的患者會發燒,70-80%患者會有咳嗽,亦有約3%的患者會肚瀉。的確有少量患者沒有發燒,但即使沒有發燒,他們隔一段時間就會出現病徵。病毒傳播需要有密切接觸。一般情況下,出現輕微徵狀的家庭成員(例如配偶及子女)或許會自行痊癒。家庭成員近距離照顧病人時有機會因為吸入飛沬或接觸污染物而受感染。患者若情況輕微或會自行痊癒。

Q2: Is there any treatment for COVID-19?

A: There is no specific medicine for this virus for the time being. Nonetheless, from the experience of SARS and MERS, doctors do have some medicines for patients. For example, there is an enzyme called protease in the virus. Kaletra is the medicine for containing the enzyme. There are also drugs called Ribavirin and Betaferon. We usually combine two to three medicines to fight this virus. And there is a drug developed in America called Remdesivir. This drug is currently under clinical test for mild, medium and serious patients in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital.

Q2: 對於這種病毒,現時有治療方法嗎?

A: 暫時未有特效藥專治這種病毒。但醫學界根據 SARS 和新SARS的經驗,會採用一些藥物醫治患者。例如這病毒中有一種酵素叫蛋白酶,藥物方面可以使用一種蛋白酶抑制擠,壓制病毒;亦有一種叫利巴韋林的藥物,以及有干擾素,我們通常會混合使用兩三種藥物,對抗病毒。美國亦有一隻藥物叫瑞德西韋,日前已在武漢金銀潭醫院為輕、中、重病患者進行臨床試驗。

Q3: What is the progress of vaccine development?

A: Experts around the globe are working around the clock on vaccine research and development. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, estimated that the first vaccine could be ready in 18 months.

Q3: 預防疫苗的研發進展如何?

A: 各地專家現正爭分奪秒地為這新病毒進行疫苗研發,世衛總幹事譚德塞表示,首批疫苗可能在18個月內取得。

Q4: Will those who have recovered from the disease be infected again?

A: The causes of this virus are 80% similar to those of SARS. From SARS we know the antibody exists for up to 3 years while the antibody in MERS disappears after a few months. Currently it is unknown how long the antibody can last following infection with 2019-nCoV.

Q4: 康復者會不會再次感染?

A: SARS病毒和新型冠狀病毒有八成多相似,SARS時的經驗顯示,抗體能在體內持續長達三年,新沙士的抗體則數個月後會消失。現時仍未知道感染新型冠狀病毒後的抗體能維持多久。

Q5: What is the origin of this new virus?

A: According to the gene mapping of this virus, 80% of its gene is the same as that of the virus causing SARS while there is 96% similarity at the whole genome level to a bat coronavirus. From this understanding, we believe that the primary reservoir of this novel virus is the bat. But as to what the medium is between bat and human, we are still investigating and researching.


Q5: 新型冠狀病毒的源頭找到了嗎?

A: 這病毒的基因圖譜顯示,它與 SARS的冠狀病毒有八成基因相同,與蝙蝠身上的冠狀病毒的基因排序有96%相似。我們由此推斷,新型冠狀病毒的宿主就是蝙蝠。但至於病毒如何由蝙蝠跳到人類身上,中介是什麼,則仍有待追查和研究。



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