Professors Garry Taylor and Frank Sullivan took part in a video symposium on COVID-19 with doctors in Beijing and Wuhan.
The symposium was chaired by Professor Feng Cao and Professor Guogang Xu who are at the Chinese PLA General Hospital, otherwise known as the 301 Hospital, a 4000-bed hospital in Beijing. Professor Cao is a cardiologist and associate director of the 301, and Professor Xu is a consultant in respiratory disease and an alumnus of St Andrews. They were joined by three doctors from Wuhan who have been working at the front line in the city where the SARS-CoV-2 virus first appeared.
The Wuhan clinicians, Dr Ping Ye (cardiologist), Dr Zhijian Zhang (respiratory medicine) and Dr Xuechun Lu (hematologist), shared data on clinical manifestations, co-morbidities, predictors of disease progression and treatment regimes of patients. They also shared data on traditional herbal medicines that are being investigated via detailed molecular methods for any therapeutic activity against COVID-19.
Professor Sullivan, Professor of Primary Care Medicine and Director of Research in the Medical School, and who also works in a GP clinic in Anstruther, described the UK’s COVID-19 primary care guidance from Public Health England and gave an overview of current research in St Andrews on COVID-19, which includes science at several levels: basic, data, clinical and social. Professor Taylor talked about drugs being developed through the University spinout company, Pneumagen Ltd., where there is the promise of a pan-viral therapy for a number of respiratory tract infections caused by the influenza, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial, and now potentially, the SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
The St Andrews participants thanked the Chinese clinicians for sharing their experiences and for the significant key scientific data on COVID-19 that China is releasing to the international community; in turn, the Beijing doctors looked forward to further dialogue and to the fruits of the research in St Andrews. They also thanked the University for the care and support it is showing towards Chinese students who are unable to return home at this time.
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.