Coronavirus Drug Ready for Testing

  • The new drug can be administered orally.
  • The clinical trials are expected to begin within two months.
  • Successful trials would positively affect global economies by providing stability and relief.

As of April 7th, there are over 1,390,511 infected cases of coronavirus around the world according to the John Hopkins interactive tool.  Thus far there haven’t been any drugs to specifically treat coronavirus. Many doctors around the world are trying to treat infected with anti-malaria drugs and also AIDS drugs. The same protocols were used during SARS.

However, a new scientific paper has been published with a breakthrough new drug specifically formulated to treat coronavirus. The added bonus of the drug is that it comes in pill form and is ready to be tested on humans. It is always easier to have a pill form vs intravenous delivery. The paper titled “An orally bioavailable broad-spectrum antiviral inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial cell cultures and multiple coronaviruses in mice” and it is published at in the Journal Science Translational Medicine.  The drug research is led by Ralph Baric from the US University of North Carolina.

The new drug has proven effective against three types of coronaviruses, including SARS-Cov-2. The experiments were conducted on human cell cultures and mice. According to the report, the clinical trials are expected to begin by May or June 2020. There are no approved drugs against any coronaviruses that affect humans. This also applies to SARS-Cov-2, which caused the current COVID-19 pandemic and has already claimed the lives of almost 75,000 people. The current treatment is mainly aimed at supporting the functioning of the lungs.

Electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 (orange).

It is a race around the world by governments and the medical community to find a drug to treat coronavirus. It seems the new drug EIDD-2801 might be the answer the world needs.

EIDD-2801 has shown its effectiveness “in vitro” on human lung cells infected with SARS-Cov-2. In addition, the drug was tested on mice infected with related pathogen coronaviruses SARS-Cov and MERS, which also caused epidemics.

A study has shown that EIDD-2801 can prevent severe lung damage in mice. The main success comes if this drug is given within 24 hours of infection in mice. It reduces lung damage, weight loss, and the number of viral particles detected in rodent samples. It is expected that this “window of opportunity” will be longer in humans, because our immune system resists the pathogen longer.

Based on viral RNA analysis, the drug causes many mutations in the pathogen, which are usually fatal for it. This is the mechanism of its action. At the same time, it does not cause mutations in the cells of the carrier of the infection.

The researchers also tested how effective EIDD-2801 is in combination with remdesivir, which is currently undergoing clinical trials. It turned out that the two drugs work perfectly together. Mutations that give the SARS-Cov-2 virus resistance to one of them leave it vulnerable to the other, and vice versa.

Due to the effectiveness of the drug against three coronaviruses at once, biologists hope that it will suppress other similar pathogens.

Besides finally having a drug to treat such viruses, successful trials would also positively affect global economies by providing stability and relief.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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