In a new study, researchers found that three commonly used antiviral and antimalarial drugs may be effective at preventing replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The research was conducted by a team at North Carolina State University and elsewhere.
In the study, the team looked at three antiviral drugs that have proven effective against Ebola and the Marburg virus: tilorone, quinacrine and pyronaridine.
The compounds were tested against SARS-CoV-2, as well as against a common cold virus (HCoV 229E) and murine hepatitis virus (MHV).
Researchers utilized a variety of cell lines that represented potential targets for SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human body.
They infected the cell lines with the different viruses and then looked at how well the compounds prevented viral replication in the cells.
The team found in the human-derived cell lines, all three compounds worked similarly to remdesivir, which is currently being used to treat COVID-19.
Researchers saw similar results when these compounds were initially tested against Ebola.
Next steps for the research include testing the compounds’ effectiveness in a mouse model and further work on understanding how they inhibit viral replication.
The team says one of the more interesting findings here is that these compounds don’t just prevent the virus from potentially binding to the cells, but that they may also inhibit the viral activity.
It’s also interesting that these drugs are effective not just against SARS-CoV-2, but against related coronaviruses. It could give doctors a head start on therapies as new coronaviruses emerge.
The study is published in ACS Omega. One author of the study is Ana Puhl, a senior scientist.
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