Coronavirus: UK, China Race to Develop Treatments

  • The two drugs are already licensed for use in Japan, but for the treatment of pancreatitis.
  • The United States was working with India to develop a series of coronavirus treatments.
  • In Iran, close to 700 people have died after drinking methanol, in the hopes that it can cure the disease.

Scientists in the UK are working on a promising Covid-19 treatment that apparently “stops the virus in its tracks.” Researchers working on the project are optimistic that the drug, which is already approved for use, can be used as both preventive medicine and treatment for coronavirus sufferers.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

The two drugs, namely Camostat and Nafamostat, can be administered intravenously, and are already licensed for use in Japan, but for the treatment of pancreatitis. They work by reducing inflammation of the pancreas. Their solid safety record allows them to be used in human trials in the treatment of Covid-19.

According to Dr. Bobojon Nazarov, the medical researcher who spearheaded the trials, the medicine works by stopping virus from locking onto cells. “This is the only class of drugs which have been shown to block the entry of the Covid-19 virus into the cell. All other therapies target processes downstream – once the virus has taken more hold in the body,” he said.

Dr. Nazarov, who’s also the founder of Latus Therapeutics, currently leads a team of researchers from the University of Oxford in finding a Covid-19 cure. He plans to start camostat trials soon on Covid-19 patients.

In other related news, researchers are carrying out tests on an experimental cancer drug that has the potential to prevent coronavirus infections. It is categorized as an aptamer. This class of synthetic DNA pieces bind onto the surface of cells to prevent them from being hijacked by the virus. Previous studies have shown that aptamer prevents various types of cancer from “hijacking” the nucleolin, which triggers a replication process and infects other cells.

Researchers at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky, believe that the prevention technique could halt the replication of the virus in the body. According to Dr Paula Bates, a medical professor at the University of Louisville, there’s immense potential in the technology.

Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. There are seven known strains of human coronaviruses, including COVID-19.

US Working with India to Produce a Covid-19 Vaccine

The United States is also involved in the race to find a Covid-19 cure. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently disclosed that the United States was working with India to develop a series of coronavirus treatments. India is one of the biggest manufacturers of vaccines in the world. The nation has about six major vaccine manufacturers.

There are also small to medium-sized companies that specialize in the production of medicines against pneumonia, polio, rotavirus, measles, meningitis, mumps and BCG, among others. There are currently about half a dozen firms working on coronavirus vaccines in the nation.

Over 700 People Die in Iran after Drinking Ethanol

The search for a Covid-19 cure has led to people turning to unproven panaceas as treatment. In Iran, close to 700 people have died after drinking methanol, in the hopes that it can cure the disease.

There are, however, discrepancies between this number, and those released by the Iranian Health Ministry. Hossein Hassanian, an adviser to the ministry, has said that the difference is as a result of the omission of tallies related to cases that occurred away from hospitals.

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Samuel Gush

Samuel Gush is a Technology, Entertainment, and Political News writer at Communal News.

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