A drug used to fight the SARS and MERS outbreaks effectively attacks the engine behind the spread of COVID-19 Virus infections, a study out of the University of Alberta has found.
Matthias Gotte, a biologist at the university, said his team’s study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) discovered remdesivir is effective at inhibiting the polymerase, described as the engine that drives COVID-19.
“Without the engine, the virus cannot spread,” said Gotte. “So what happens is the engine needs gas and the drug basically offers diesel and then eventually the virus stops.”
The study adds to previous research that found remdesivir is an effective inhibitor against other strains of coronavirus but left open the question of how it would help fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind the pandemic.
“We have shown with this paper that this compound, remdesivir, does behave like a direct acting antiviral, so we understand how that drug is working,” said Gotte. “It’s our job to provide scientific evidence whether a compound shows an antiviral effect and how it works before we consider a compound for clinical trial.”
Gotte conducted biochemical studies with the drug, however he said clinical trials of remdesivir on people with COVID-19 are currently underway in other parts of the world.
The first data on the drug’s effectiveness in people was released last Friday. However, Gotte said it is still too early to make any conclusions on the drug’s effectiveness as it was administered compassionately to individuals already dealing with extreme illness.
“We really have to look at data from randomized clinical trials where we compare remdesivir with, let’s say, a placebo or against another potential drug,” said Gotte.
Gotte said the main message coming out of his study is that remdesivir is a very potent drug against the driver of COVID-19, however he urged patience as further trials are conducted.
Gotte’s study was published the same day a province-wide clinical trial of another drug was announced. The University of Calgary will lead a study looking at the effectiveness of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine on COVID-19 patients. The goal of the study is to help reduce pressure on hospitals and preventing further infections.
The “HOPE” trial, to begin April 15, will target 1,600 Albertan outpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at risk of developing severe symptoms.
U of A study finds SARS drug attacks engine behind COVID-19 virus U of A study finds SARS drug attacks engine behind COVID-19 virus U of A study finds SARS drug attacks engine behind COVID-19 virus U of A study finds SARS drug attacks engine behind COVID-19 virus U of A study finds SARS drug attacks engine behind COVID-19 virusU of A study finds SARS drug attacks engine behind COVID-19 virus
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