Scientists find existing drugs that can kill COVID-19 virus

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Since the beginning of the pandemic, researchers worldwide have been looking for ways to treat COVID-19.

And while the COVID-19 vaccines represent the best measure to prevent the disease, therapies for those who do get infected remain in short supply.

In a new study from the University of Michigan, researchers found several drug contenders already in use for other purposes—including one dietary supplement—that have been shown to block or reduce SARS-CoV2 infection in cells.

In the study, the team used artificial intelligence-powered image analysis of human cell lines during infection with the novel coronavirus.

The cells were treated with more than 1,400 individual FDA-approved drugs and compounds, either before or after viral infection, and screened, resulting in 17 potential hits.

Ten of those hits were newly recognized, with seven identified in previous drug repurposing studies, including remdesivir, which is one of the few FDA-approved therapies for COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.

The team validated the 17 candidate compounds in several types of cells, including stem-cell-derived human lung cells in an effort to mimic SARS-CoV2 infection of the respiratory tract.

Nine showed anti-viral activity at reasonable doses, including lactoferrin, a protein found in human breastmilk that is also available over the counter as a dietary supplement derived from cow’s milk.

The team is now soon launching clinical trials of the compound to examine its ability to reduce viral loads and inflammation in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection.

The trials are adding to the list of ongoing studies of promising repurposed drugs.

The team noted that over the course of the pandemic, other drug repurposing studies have identified different compounds with potential efficacy against SARS-CoV2.

Remarkably, the team also identified a class of compounds called MEK-inhibitors, typically prescribed to treat cancer, that appears to worsen SARS-CoV2 infection.

If you care about COVID drugs, please read studies about this existing drug could inhibit COVID-19 virus and findings of aspirin and other common anti-inflammatory drugs could help prevent COVID-19 deaths.

For more information about COVID and your health, please see recent studies about early use of this blood thinner drug may reduce COVID-19 death and results showing that this drug may prevent respiratory and heart damage in people with COVID-19.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. One author of the study is Jonathan Sexton, Ph.D.

Copyright © 2021 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.