It appears that a drug which mimics antibodies being developed in Hungary is effective in preventing serious complications arising from Covid-19, a scientist at Budapest’s Eötvös Loránd University said on Tuesday, reporting on tests carried out on animals.
Imre Kacskovics, an immunologist who heads the university’s science faculty, told public broadcaster Kossuth Radio that a team from pharmaceutical firm Richter Gedeon has managed to produce the compound which was formulated last March. The drug is designed to make the body resistant 12 hours after the jab.
The animal experiments conducted so far show that hamsters infected with the coronavirus do not develop severe symptoms after being administered the drug. Human clinical trials are scheduled to be carried out in the late autumn after a sequence of further tests.
Kacskovics said the drug was preventative rather than curative and should be used in the early stages of infection.
Fully 89 Covid patients, generally elderly and suffering from an underlying illness, died over the past 24 hours, while 459 new infections were officially registered, bringing the total number of infected to 360,877, koronavirus.gov.hu said on Tuesday.
The death toll has risen to 12,113, while 244,681 people have made a recovery.
The number of active infections stands at 104,083, while there are 3,815 hospitalised Covid patients, 263 on a ventilator.
Altogether 18,075 people are in official home quarantine, and the number of tests carried out has risen to 3,067,663.
Hungary began rolling out the coronavirus vaccine in December. So far, 149,676 people have received their first jab, and 12,629 have been fully inoculated.
Most infections have been registered in Budapest (67,138) and Pest County (44,871) so far, followed by the counties of Hajdú-Bihar (20,405), Győr-Moson-Sopron (20,254) and Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén (20,139). The county least affected by the infection is Tolna (7,789).
The government will keep coronavirus-related restrictions in place until February 1, and secondary schools will continue digital education, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said.
A decree made commercial P+Rs, parking garages and parking lots in residential areas free of charge from 7:00 in the evening until 7:00 in the morning. Soldiers are helping the police in carrying out their duties in public areas. Soldiers have also been assigned to help out staff in 93 hospitals around Hungary.
The curfew is in force between 8pm and 5am, and work carried out beyond the home must be justified.
With the exception of pharmacies and petrol stations, shops can be open until 7pm. Hairdressers, masseurs and personal trainers must observe general curfew rules. Family and private events including birthday celebrations can be held with a maximum of ten people attending, children do not count in the headcount.
A major new rule is that face masks must be worn in public spaces in localities with more than 10,000 residents, though it is up to local mayors to decide which spaces the rule applies to. Restaurants are limited to offering takeaways, while hotels are not allowed to cater to tourists, only guests arriving for business, economic or educational purposes. Sports events must be held behind closed doors.
Also, leisure facilities such as fitness gyms, indoor swimming pools, museums, libraries, cinemas, zoos and skating rinks must suspend their services. Events, including cultural events, cannot be held under the special rules.