Researchers at the University of New Mexico who combed a “library” of previously approved drugs believe they have identified a drug that has the potential to help speed the patient’s recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“The implication is that we think we have found a drug equivalent to remdesivir and it is cheaper,” said Tudor Oprea, MD, Ph.D., professor of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Science and head of the UNM Division of Translational Informatics. Remdesivir is a new antiviral drug that has been shown to shorten hospital stays for those recovering from the novel coronavirus.
In a paper published this week on ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science, Oprea and her colleagues, in partnership with a team at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center led by professor Colleen Jonsson, Ph.D., reported that an older antimalarial drug called amodiaquine is effective in removing the virus in test tube experiments.
Tudor Oprea, MD, Ph.D This is one of three candidates promising to be identified in a process that states the study of the molecular properties of nearly 4,000 drugs approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies. Researchers hope to find drugs that target known viral vulnerabilities.
Two other drugs – an anti-psychotic called zuclophentixol and a blood pressure drug called nebivolol also cleared the virus in experiments, said Oprea, who served as the corresponding author in the new paper. Researchers think any of these three drugs could be combined with remdesivir or a related antiviral drug called favipiravir to counteract a stronger virus attack.
Combining the two drugs could mean that lower doses of each could be given, reducing the likelihood of adverse reactions, he said.
“Think of it as a whack-a-mole game,” Oprea said. “Instead of having a hammer, you have two hammers, which is more effective. We try to give the scientific community two hammers instead of one.”
Many compounds that show antiviral activity in a laboratory setting do not have the same effect on living organisms, Oprea said, so the next step is to mount clinical trials to see if the drugs are working. in COVID-positive patients.
The UNM drug screening process began with Oprea and her colleague Larry Sklar, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pathology. They used computational methods to identify drug candidates by measuring their similarity to hydroxychloroquine, a highly discredited antimalarial drug that has been widely cited as a COVID-19 treatment. Due to molecular variations in some of the drugs, more than 6,000 combinations were assessed.
Potential candidates were passed on to Steven Bradfute, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Center for Global Health, who tested compounds against virus samples in his Biosafety Level-3 laboratory. The experiments were later repeated by University of Tennessee scientists to provide independent confirmation of the findings — and they used an additional test revealing the potency of the drug against the virus, Oprea said.
Amodiaquine, first produced in 1948, is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Drugs. It has a good safety profile and is widely used in Africa to treat malaria. Zuclophentixol has been used to treat schizophrenia since the 1970s, while nebivolol has been used for hypertension since the late 1990s.
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Giovanni Bocci et al, Virtual and In Vitro Antiviral Screening Reviving Therapeutic Drugs for COVID-19, ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science (2020). DOI: 10.1021 / acsptsci.0c00131
Provided by the University of New Mexico
Citation: Repurposing drugs: Researchers have found drugs that can fight coronavirus infection (2020, October 16) obtained on October 17, 2020 from https://medicaluhake.com/news/2020-10- drug-repurposing-medications-coronavirus-infection.html
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