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HEALTH

More than 30 French studies under way into coronavirus treatment

More than 30 studies are under way in France - of a world total of 860 - in search of drugs to treat the COVID-19 disease sweeping the world, infectologist Florence Ader said on Sunday.

More than 30 French studies under way into coronavirus treatment
Photo: AFP

The research is “extremely active” in France involving some 1,600 patients, Ader told a news conference.

Although Marseille-based professor Didier Raoult's study into the anti malarial drug chloroquine has grabbed the headlines, it is just one of more than 30 studies and clinical trials currently ongoing.

READ ALSO What is chloroquine and why do French scientists believe it can treat coronavirus?

Florence Ader gave a briefing at the Prime Minister's press conference on Sunday night. Photo: AFP

Among the other drugs being tested are those currently used to treat Ebola, Hepatitis and AIDS.

Ader heads up a study dubbed Discovery in collaboration with several other European countries, with researchers conducting clinical trials of four potential treatments including the controversial hydroxychloroquine.

Of some 3,200 patients in Europe undergoing clinical trials, at least 800 are in France.

All are in hospital and severely ill with COVID-19.

Around the world some 150 projects seek to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus. France's prestigious Institut Pasteur will carry out trials on humans by this summer, Ader said.

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HEALTH

Sick patients in France lacking GP to be contacted before summer, minister says

The French minister of health promised that chronically ill patients who aren't registered with a doctor will be contacted by the summer.

Sick patients in France lacking GP to be contacted before summer, minister says

François Braun, France’s Health Minister, said on Monday that all chronically ill patients without a general practitioner will be contacted before the month of June with “concrete solutions”.

There is a general shortage of medécins généraliste (GPs or family doctors) in France, with some areas classed as ‘medical deserts’ where people find it almost impossible to register with a doctor.

The health minister said that people without access to primary care doctors are “deprived of a regular follow-up” and that this is “no longer acceptable” for those with chronic illnesses. These groups will be contacted via Assurance Maladie before the summer, he added. 

Braun’s statements came a few weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech to healthcare workers outlining the ways he is seeking to overhaul the health system in the country.

READ MORE: How Macron intends to revive France’s ailing health system in 6 months

In his speech, the president promised that the “600,000 patients in France who suffer from a chronic disease would be offered a primary care doctor – or at least a ‘reference team’ – by the end of the year.”

Macron also discussed plans establish a “Conseil national de la refondation (CNR – or National Council for Reconstruction)” to build a “roadmap” for solutions in the fight against medical deserts.

Approximately six million French people are estimated to lack a primary care doctor, and 600,000 of those people suffer from long-term diseases, according to Franceinfo.

READ MORE: What to do if you live in one of France’s ‘medical deserts’

This issue is aggravated by the fact that almost a third of French people live in medical deserts – or geographical zones where healthcare providers and general practitioners are severely lacking compared to the rest of the country. Generally, this refers to healthcare in the community such as GPs or family doctors, dentists or community nurses, rather than hospitals.

Medical desertification mainly affects rural areas with an ageing population – though they’re also developing in some towns and cities (including some Paris suburbs) as retiring doctors are not replaced and younger medics establish themselves in more dynamic zones, both in terms of economy and activities. 

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