Recently, a new study led by the associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Denis Kainov, shows that the novel coronavirus infection may be treated via re-purposing existing anti-viral medication.
Till now, the World Health Organization has confirmed eighty thousand cases of the coronavirus infection around the world. In addition, over three thousand people have lost their lives to the health condition.
Regardless of the efforts and restrictions imposed by various governments around the world ranging from Western countries to Asian, the cases of the infection seem to increase day by day.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has also just announced that the US must prepare for a potential coronavirus outbreak in local communities.
Though healthy people may be able to fight the virus due to strong immune systems, people with particular health conditions including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and older adults are still at high risk of mortality due to coronavirus.
Therefore, there is a a big need for developing vaccination as well as a potential treatment plan for coronavirus infection as soon as possible.
The new research, whose findings appear in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, suggests that the infection can be controlled using existent broad spectrum antiviral drugs.
More specifically, a team of European-based scientists led by Kainov looked at and reviewed the well-known, safe anti-viral agents.
These one hundred and nineteen agents are also called broad-spectrum antiviral agents (BSAAs) and have the ability to kill viruses that belong to two or more families.
The introduction of broad-spectrum antiviral agents was the first step towards developing medication that can help with infections caused by multiple viruses.
Since different viruses use the same pathways and host factors to multiply and spread, a single medication can help in controlling several viruses. The researchers explain in the paper that such drugs may also be effective in controlling coronavirus infection.
For this purpose, re-purposing the drugs may be the best option availiable in comparison with developing new ones.
The researchers explain in the paper in the words ” “chemical synthesis steps, manufacturing processes, reliable safety, and pharmacokinetic properties in [animal models] and early clinical developmental phases (phase 0, I, and IIa) are already available,”
They add that “Drug repurposing is a strategy for generating additional value from an existing drug by targeting diseases other than that for which it was originally intended.”
Consequently, doing so will have a “a substantially higher probability of success to market” as well as “a significantly reduced cost and timeline to clinical availability” which are two major requirements in controlling the coronavirus epidemic.
Till now, the team has succesfully named one hundred and nineteen antiviral agents for the treatment of coronavirus infection including teicoplanin, dalbavancin, emetine, oritavancin, monensin.
The most effective ones, which were also seen to inhibit coronavirus in vitro are remdesivir and chloroquine. Further investigations into the effectiveness of these antiviral agents and even some antibiotics have now begun.
The team summarized the conclusion of the study in the form of an open access database which contains all fundamental knowledge on coronavirus infection up till now.
In the final words, the researchers also stated that “In the future, BSAAs will have global impact by decreasing morbidity and mortality from viral and other diseases, maximizing the number of healthy life years, improving the quality of life [for people with the virus], and decreasing the costs of patient care.”