Two medications commonly used to treat inflammation and HIV infection have been repurposed in the fight against COVID-19. Researchers found combined cepharanthine/nelfinavir therapy can hasten the clearance of coronavirus infection from a person's lungs in as little as 4.9 days. Cepharanthine hindered the entry of SARS_CoV_2 into cells, preventing the virus from binding to a protein on the cell membrane it uses as a gateway. Nelfinavir prevented the virus from replicating inside cells by inhibiting a protein the virus relies on for replication.
A new machine-learning algorithm is assisting researchers to determine which existing drugs can be repurposed effectively for other conditions.
Dexamethasone, an inexpensive steroid, reduced death by one-third in ventilated COVID-19 patients, and by one fifth in patients receiving oxygen for severe coronavirus symptoms. Preliminary findings suggest one death per eight patients ventilated could be prevented by administering dexamethasone.
Famotidine (Pepcid AC), an over-the-counter medication used to treat indigestion, shows promise as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
Treating coronavirus patients with alpha-blockers may help prevent the cytokine storm associated with severe COVID-19 infection. Alpha-blockers interfere with the cell signaling that triggers cytokine storms. Mice with bacterial infections that were treated with alpha-blockers experienced reduced cytokine storms and decreased death rates.
Interferon-a2b an antiviral treatment shows promise in helping to speed up the recovery of patients with severe COVID-19 infections. IFN-a2b improves viral clearance and decreases the levels of inflammatory markers in coronavirus patients.
Researchers find no beneficial evidence to support the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, either used alone or in combination with azithromycin, for the treatment of COVID-19.
Anakinra, a clinically approved anti-inflammatory used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, improves respiratory function in patients with severe COVID-19 infection.
UCSD has launched a Phase III clinical trial to assess whether tocilizumab (Actemra), a drug commonly prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders, has therapeutic value for those at risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection. The drug is a monoclonal antibody-based therapy that blocks receptors for interleukin-6, a cytokine that triggers inflammation as an early immune response to coronavirus. Blocking IL-6 could prevent the risk of the COVID-19 associated cytokine storm many with severe infection experience.
Researchers have identified the structural basis for SARS-CoV-2 inhibition by the drug Remdesivir. The findings reveal a potential binding pattern that offers support for the design of new, more efficient, and specific anti-COVID-19 drugs.
Researchers warn early encouraging signals from small-scale preliminary trials for the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus should be taken with caution. Current evidence suggests chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can not be used as a general treatment for all COVID-19 infections. Researchers say the medications should be restricted for the treatment of COVID-19 patients with pneumonia and high death risk, and only then as part of a clinical trial. The study also points out the negative side effects produced by the anti-malarial drugs and warns that those who need the medication to treat Lupus might not have access to treatment if widespread use for coronavirus occurs. The study reports there is no evidence to support the mass use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to prevent infection from occurring.