Credits: The Filipino Times

Study Finds an Ebola Drug Useful Against COVID-19

Scientists from the whole world are trying to find a cure against the deadly COVID-19. New research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry finds that an Ebola drug, remdesivir can help fight the coronavirus. This research is done by scientists at the University of Alberta.

The World Health Organization Officials state that “one drug right now that we think may have real efficacy”. 

Another research published in February 2020 shows that the drug was functional against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, a related coronavirus.

The chair of medical microbiology and immunology at U of A, Matthias Göttesda says that the researchers are highly optimistic to see that remdesivir drug is effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The results obtained are similar to the results reported with MERS. Thats why they consider the remdesivir drug  a strong inhibitor for coronavirus polymerases. 

He further said; “If you target the polymerase, the virus cannot spread, so it’s a very logical target for treatment. These coronavirus polymerases are sloppy and they get fooled, so the inhibitor gets incorporated many times and the virus can no longer replicate.”

A small study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that remdesivir, a drug developed to fight Ebola virus has helped more than sixty percent of patients with severe breathing problems due to coronavirus to improve and helped more than fifty percent patients who were dependent upon a ventilator to breath.

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Previously published studies in animals and cell culture models, help to classify the remdesivir drug as a “direct-acting antiviral” against SARS-CoV-2. The researchers cautioned that lab results are not enough to predict the effect of the drug on people.

The present research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alberta’s Major Innovation Fund and Gilead Sciences, which manufactures remdesivir.

Götte tells that they must be patient and sit tight for the results of the randomized clinical preliminaries.

The Götte lab recently worked on human immunodeficiency infection (HIV) and HCV, yet several years prior switched to concentrate on infections with the most elevated pandemic potential. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued the list of the top pathogens liable to cause extreme outbreaks, including Ebola, coronavirus, and Lassa.

Gotte also tells that the next step will be to utilize the lab’s instruments to assess other promising antivirals.

 The researchers are hopeful and confident that the number of research works going on worldwide and the high level of cooperation between them will prompt the disclosure of one or more successful treatments for COVID-19.

They are desperate to find a treatment against COVID-19 but despite everything, they need to keep the bar high for whatever they put into clinical preliminaries.

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Remdesivir is one of a few drugs being optimized into preliminaries by the World Health Organization, contrasting potential treatments in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in many countries, including Canada. Researchers say that they can anticipate results from significant clinical trials as soon as April or May.

Götte says that it is frustrating that antivirals found at the hour of the severe acute respiratory disorder (SARS) outbreak of 2003 which may also have been useful against COVID-19 were never translated into accessible treatments because the high cost is needed to develop new drugs.

He says, 

“This time around it’s obvious that we have to cross the finish line. Ten billion dollars, it seems a lot, a huge amount. But in the context of this pandemic and the costs associated with this pandemic, it’s nothing.”


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