In a new study, researchers have identified three drugs, already approved for other uses in humans, as possible therapeutics for COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
They found the drugs zuclopenthixol, nebivolol, and amodiaquine as promising therapeutics for the virus in its early stages.
Amodiaquine is an older antimalarial drug, zuclopenthixol is an antipsychotic drug, and nebivolol is a blood pressure drug.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Tennessee and the University of New Mexico.
In a paper, the researchers propose the drugs as possible candidates for testing in future clinical trials to improve immune response to the virus.
They conceived a computational workflow that included independent in vitro validation, followed by assessing emerging drug candidates in the context of available clinical pharmacology data with the aim of proposing suitable candidates for clinical studies for early-stage (incubation and symptomatic phases) patients infected by SARS-CoV-2.
Given the need for improved efficacy and safety, they proposed zuclopenthixol, nebivolol, and amodiaquine as potential candidates for clinical trials against the early phase of the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Comparing the drugs to hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug most-frequently studied in clinical trials for use as a COVID-19 therapeutic, the researchers examined 4,000 approved drugs and found these three to act similarly to the hydroxychloroquine, and in some cases, more safely.
The findings show the drugs may also improve efficacy when combined in lower doses with remdesivir, an anti-viral given an emergency use authorization by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a therapeutic for COVID-19.
This is a very exciting discovery, and the researchers are following up on the potential use of zuclopenthixol, nebivolol, and amodiaquine in additional research studies.
One author of the study is Colleen Jonsson, Ph.D.
The study is published in ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science.
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