What does the pharmacy already have, that could treat COVID-19?

  • What does the pharmacy already have, that could treat COVID-19?
  • Reference: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.22.002386v3
  • In this paper, a whole lot of medicinal chemists got together and asked the question, do we have something already that can be potentially repurposed to treat COVID-19? For this they made human cells produce each individual component of the novel coronavirus. They then used this component as bait to fish for molecules in the human cell that interact with it. This way, they identified 332 human molecules that bind to the viral components. The authors then went through the list of drugs we already have and looked for those that hit these human molecules. They identified 69 FDA-approved drugs and a host of others that are still in or have not undergone clinical trials. Interestingly, this list includes medicines that are used in diabetes (Metformin), hypertension, bacterial infections (antibiotics), malaria (chloroquine), cancer and of course, antivirals. This paper thus opens up the possibility of the existence of potent weapons in our fight against COVID-19. However, a lot of these drugs have side effects and therefore need to be tested before definitive therapeutic claims can be made.
  • Summary by: Manoj Kumar Rathinaswamy, Graduate Student at University of Victoria, Canada.

Photo credit: Nathaniel Yeo on Unsplash

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