How hydroxychloroquine works against COVID-19?

  • How hydroxychloroquine works against COVID-19?
  • Reference: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41421-020-0156-0#Sec1
  • In this study, a group of researchers from China compared the effect of Chloroquine(CQ) and Hydroxychloroquine(HCQ) on African green monkey kidney cells when they were infected with COVID-19. First, they checked for the toxicity of HCQ and CQ and found that there was not a huge difference between them. Then, they checked the dose of drug required to stop the virus and found that CQ was effective in lower doses in comparison with HCQ. Based on these results they concluded that the HCQ has a lower potency in comparison with CQ. Further, the authors propose three mechanisms through which CQ and HCQ might protect cells from virus.
    • They prevent the addition of sugar groups to ACE2 (Lock) which prevents binding of viral spike protein(S-Key to enter inside our cells).
    • They alter the cell’s transport machinery that prevents the uptake and subsequent processing of the virus.
    • They can decrease the damage caused by the immune system while attacking the virus.
  • It is important to note that both CQ and HCQ are well distributed throughout the body and specifically accumulate quite well in the lungs, liver, kidney, spleen. The recommended safe dosage of HCQ should be sufficient to inhibit COVID-19. This study shows that CQ might be better than HCQ in inhibiting virus. But, independent animal studies (Dog,Mouse,Rat) have shown that HCQ is 40% less toxic than CQ. Besides HCQ is widely available in the market because of its utility in treating other diseases (Rheumatoid arthritis). All of this had made HCQ,  the most sought after drug for COVID-19.
  • Summary by: Ramakrishnan Pandiarajan, Graduate student at Helmholtz Centre, Munich, Germany

Photo credit: Freestocks on Unsplash

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