An Indian-American scientist-led team from the University of Missouri has found that four antiviral drugs, including remdesivir, a drug originally developed to treat Ebola, are effective in inhibiting the replication of the coronavirus causing COVID-19.
Kamlendra Singh, an associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and his team used computer-aided drug design to examine the effectiveness of remdesivir, 5-fluorouracil, ribavirin and favipiravir in treating COVID-19.
According to the study, published in the journal Pathogens, Singh found that all four drugs were effective in inhibiting, or blocking, the coronavirus’ RNA proteins from making genomic copies of the virus.
“As researchers, we have an obligation to search for possible treatments given that so many people are dying from this virus,” Singh said.
These antiviral drugs, if they turn out to be effective, all have some limitations.
“But in the midst of a global pandemic, they are worth taking a deeper look at because based on our research, we have reason to believe that all of these drugs could potentially be effective in treating COVID-19,” he added.
The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19, like all viruses, can mutate and develop resistance to antiviral drugs.
Therefore, further testing in a laboratory setting and in patients is needed to better evaluate how the proposed treatments interact with the virus’ RNA polymerase.
“Our goal is to help doctors by providing options for possible treatments of COVID-19, and to ultimately contribute in improving the health outcomes of patients suffering from the infectious disease,” Singh said.
Singh’s research is an example of translational medicine, a key component of the University of Missouri System’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative.
The NextGen initiative aims to improve large-scale interdisciplinary collaboration in pursuit of life-changing precision health advancements and research.
Meanwhile, the US is planning to begin treating some of the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients with the antiviral medication Remdesivir, the maker of the drug has announced, as tensions continued across the country over the economic reopening of states.
Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the experimental anti-viral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, confirmed cases in the country has reached 1,180,634 with 68,934 deaths, according to the tally maintained by the Johns Hopkins University.