These two drugs show promise against COVID-19

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In a new study, researchers have screened 48 FDA-approved drugs against SARS-CoV-2 and found that two, that are already FDA-approved for other illnesses, seem promising.

The research was conducted by a team from South Korea.

In the study, the team tested the drugs in Vero cells, a cell line developed from kidney cells of the African Green Monkey, which are commonly used to grow viruses for vaccine production.

An anti-helminthic drug called niclosamide demonstrated “very potent” antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2.

Its broad-spectrum antiviral effect has been well documented in the literature, including antiviral properties against SARS- and MERS-CoV.

A downside of niclosamide is low absorption, which undercuts the drug’s power by reducing the dose that reaches the target tissue.

However, further development or drug formulation could enable the effective delivery of this drug to the target tissue.

Despite substantially lower antiviral potency, ciclesonide, an inhaled corticosteroid used to treat asthma and allergic rhinitis, also showed promise against SARS-CoV-2.

Intriguingly, the team noted that a recent study published a treatment report of 3 patients infected by SARS-CoV-2, demonstrated antiviral activity, and revealed the drug’s molecular target to be a viral protein called Nsp15.

The team says with its proven anti-inflammatory activity, ciclesonide may represent a potent drug that can manifest the dual roles of antiviral and anti-inflammatory for the control of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The anti-inflammatory activity might play a critical role in dampening or preventing the cytokine storms, an immune-inflammatory overreaction that can kill COVID-19 patients.

One author of the study is Sangeun Jeon from the Zoonotic Virus Laboratory, Institut Pasteur Korea.

The study is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

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