France has begun evacuating coronavirus patients via a high-speed medical train, Thursday, March 26.
READ MORE: With the global COVID-19 death toll surging past 20,000 people this week, accelerated efforts to develop coronavirus treatments are primarily focused on adapting existing drugs intended to fight other diseases.
“The shortest path to a treatment, we think, is to repurpose something that already exists based on our knowledge of the mechanisms of action," said Dr. Hana Akselrod, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
This new strain of coronavirus causes the disease, COVID-19, a respiratory illness that can be fatal for an estimated 2% of the population, especially older people and those with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. COVID-19 virus is related to other deadly viruses that have caused relatively recent widespread outbreaks: SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome.