Coronavirus | Nearly 70 Drugs Identified to Test Against COVID-19

Scientists have identified 69 drugs and experimental compounds that could be effective in treating COVID-19.

Updated23 Mar 2020, 11:01 AM IST
2 min read

Scientists have identified 69 drugs and experimental compounds that could be effective in treating the novel coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease, The New York Times reports.

The list appeared in a study published on the website bioRxiv, and came about after several researchers conducted an ‘unusual study’ of the genes of SARS-CoV-2.

Many of these drug candidates are already in use for the treatment of other diseases. Repurposing them could lead to faster results than coming up with a completely new antiviral, the researchers said.

In search for drugs that can ‘latch onto the human proteins that the coronavirus seems to need to enter and replicate in human cells’, 24 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were identified which treat diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s and hypertension.

Among others, were medicines like haloperidol and metmorfin, used by schizophreniacs and type 2 diabetics, respectively.

Malaria Drug Chloroquine Also On the List

An important drug on the list is chloroquine, that is used in the treatment of malaria.

The drug to receive the most attention, from US President Donald Trump himself, is the anti-malaria drug chloroquine and its derivative hydroxychloroquine. While briefing the prjavascript:void(0)ess, the US President did a hard-sell, saying,

"A drug called chloroquine, and some people would add to it hydroxychloroquine, now this is a common malaria drug. The nice part is, it's been around for a long time, so we know that if things don't go as planned it's not going to kill anybody. It's shown very very encouraging early results."

While a few studies have linked chloroquine to COVID-19, researchers are still wary about drawing any conclusions before sufficient trials are conducted.

The New York Times quotes Nevan Krogen, a biologist at the University of California who led the new study, as saying that chloroquine may have ‘toxic side effects because the drug appears to target many human cellular proteins.

“You need to be careful. “We need more data at every level”, he said.

Researchers have already started testing 22 of the other compounds on the list against coronavirus grown in their labs. The results are awaited.

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Published: 23 Mar 2020, 06:51 AM IST

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