Scientists find how drug remdesivir works to kill COVID-19 virus

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a new study, researchers found out how the COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir works to kill the virus.

The drug is the only treatment of its kind approved in the U.S. for the coronavirus.

The finding could also lead to more potent drugs, meaning a patient could take less of a dose, see fewer side effects and experience faster relief.

The research was conducted by a team at The University of Texas at Austin.

Remdesivir targets a part of the coronavirus that allows it to make copies of itself and spread through the body.

For the first time, scientists identified a critical mechanism that the drug uses and unearthed information that drug companies can use to develop new and improved antivirals to take advantage of the same trick.

In the study, the team found that remdesivir shuts down the virus’ photocopier—called an RNA polymerase—by preventing copying of the virus’s genetic code and its ability to churn out duplicates and spread through the body.

The team detected where the drug manages to gum up the gears, grinding the machine to a halt.

The team says that SARS-CoV-2 is the third coronavirus to make the leap from animals to humans in less than 20 years.

the search for more potent antivirals could soon become more urgent as new strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, regularly emerge.

Doctors might need other drugs that are like remdesivir, but different enough that they can then go after the mutated forms.

One author of the study is Kenneth Johnson, a professor of molecular biosciences at UT Austin.

The study is published in the journal Molecular Cell.

Copyright © 2021 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.