Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service

Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at a military exhibition in Moscow. (Kremlin via Reuters)
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Updated 27 December 2019

Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service

Russia: First Avangard hypersonic missiles enter service
  • ‘Strategic missiles with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered service at 10 am Moscow time on December 27’

MOSCOW: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that the country’s first Avangard hypersonic missiles have been put into service, an official statement said.

Russian officials say the missile is highly maneuverable and reached the speed of Mach 27, or roughly 33,000 kilometers per hour, during tests.

Mach 1 is a unit of measurement equivalent to the speed of sound.

“The first missile regiment equipped with latest strategic missiles with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered service at 10 am Moscow time on December 27,” the defense ministry said, according to Russian news agencies.

No other details were immediately provided but defense officials have said that the first Avangard regiment is based in the Orenburg region in the Urals.

A defense ministry spokesman declined immediate comment.

Moscow has said it showed US arms inspectors the Avangard missiles in November.

Putin unveiled images of the new weapon during his state of the nation address in 2018, saying it would defeat all existing missile defense systems.

Russia has boasted of developing a number of “invincible” weapons that surpass existing systems and include Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.

This week Putin said that Russia was no longer playing a game of catch-up with the West on weapons development.

“This is a unique situation in our modern history: they are playing catch-up with us,” he said.


Study: Cheap drug could cut COVID-19 hospitalizations

The report, by scientists at the University of Montreal in Canada, found that the anti-inflammatory treatment colchicine  reduced the risk of coronavirus patients with underlying health conditions being admitted to hospital by 25 percent. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
The report, by scientists at the University of Montreal in Canada, found that the anti-inflammatory treatment colchicine reduced the risk of coronavirus patients with underlying health conditions being admitted to hospital by 25 percent. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Updated 3 min 9 sec ago

Study: Cheap drug could cut COVID-19 hospitalizations

The report, by scientists at the University of Montreal in Canada, found that the anti-inflammatory treatment colchicine  reduced the risk of coronavirus patients with underlying health conditions being admitted to hospital by 25 percent. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
  • Gout medicine colchicine could be instrumental in treating virus patients
  • Comes in pill form, costs just $0.40 each

LONDON: A drug normally used to treat gout could significantly reduce the risk of coronavirus patients requiring hospital treatment, a new study has suggested.

The report, by scientists at the University of Montreal in Canada, found that the anti-inflammatory treatment colchicine — which comes in pill form and costs just $0.40 per dose — reduced the risk of coronavirus patients with underlying health conditions being admitted to hospital by 25 percent.

The results “should change clinical practice,” said Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, a lead scientist behind the research.

The study of 4,000 subjects suggested that colchicine cut the risk of death by 44 percent and the risk of patients requiring mechanical ventilation by half. However, these findings did not meet the levels required to be statistically significant because too few patients “had reached these endpoints,” Tardif said.

The drug, he said, has the potential to “prevent coronavirus complications for millions of patients.”

Colchicine is an anti-inflammatory medicine that prevents the cytokine storm phenomenon, in which the body attacks its own cells as part of its response to infection, causing severe and potentially fatal inflammation.

Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Oxford, told the Daily Mail newspaper that the research was “really, really exciting.”

He said: “My first response was that this looks really interesting — if it’s real and clinically meaningful.”

Colchicine is one of the drugs being studied as part of the University of Oxford’s RECOVERY trial, the world’s largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalized with coronavirus.

Oxford’s own study of the potential benefits of colchicine, Landray said, is still four to six weeks away from being able to conclude whether it provided benefits to patients.

The RECOVERY trials have yielded various other useful insights into drug treatments for coronavirus.

In June last year, trials found that the drug dexamethasone, a cheap steroid available for decades, could reduce the number of patients that required ventilators by as much as 35 percent.

The trials also found that hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by former US president Donald Trump, was ineffective at fighting the virus.