Study Lists 21 Drugs That Could Treat COVID-19

A team of scientists led by Sumit Chanda, Ph.D., a professor and director of the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, has in a study listed 21 existing drugs that stop the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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Photo credit: John Hopkins University

In the study published in journal Nature, the researchers looked into the world’s largest collection of drugs with the same ability to stop the replication of coronavirus before they found 21 to be effective at safe dosage levels. They found that four out of the 100 molecules with antiviral capacity, work well with remdesivir, a current standard-of-care treatment for COVID-19.

“Remdesivir has proven successful at shortening the recovery time for patients in the hospital, but the drug doesn’t work for everyone who receives it. That’s not good enough,” said Chanda, senior author of the study.

“As infection rates continue to rise in America and around the world, the urgency remains to find affordable, effective, and readily available drugs that can complement the use of remdesivir, as well as drugs that could be given prophylactically or at the first sign of infection on an outpatient basis.”

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Photo credit: Sci-News

The researchers also made the following findings:

  • 13 have previously entered clinical trials for other indications and are effective at safe doses
  • Two are already FDA approved: astemizole (allergies), clofazamine (leprosy)
  • Remdesivir has received Emergency Use Authorization fir use against COVID-19
  • Four worked synergistically with remdesivir, including the chloroquine derivative hanfangchin
  • A (tetrandrine), an antimalarial drug that has reached Phase 3 clinical trials.

The experts also shared that they are currently running experimental “mini lung tests” and animal models testing before approaching the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for potential clinical trial(s) evaluation.

According to Chanda, the study will be helpful for the scientific community as they try to address the ongoing pandemic. “This study significantly expands the possible therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients, especially since many of the molecules already have clinical safety data in humans,” says Chanda. “This report provides the scientific community with a larger arsenal of potential weapons that may help bring the ongoing global pandemic to heel.”

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