Old Medications Against Coronavirus

A “medication repurposing” approach uncovers dozens of old medications against coronavirus with the astonishing potential to fight the virus. In the early 1950s, doctors began treating schizophrenia with a new medication charged chlorpromazine. Seven decades later, the drug is yet accepted as an antipsychotic.

But presently investigators have found that the medicine, also known as Thorazine, can do something completely separate. It can stop the new coronavirus that makes COVID-19 from attacking cells.

Driven by the pandemic’s spread, study teams have been researching thousands of old medications against coronavirus to see if they have this amazing potential to fight the coronavirus. They’ve examined the medicines on dishes of cells, and a few dozen competitors have made the first cut.

Clinical Trials

They’re startlingly different. Some, like chlorpromazine, have been used for years — not for viral diseases, but diseases including cancer, infections, arthritis, even irregular menstrual days.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet confirmed other medications against coronavirus, but they have previously proven safe in clinical trials. Their track records might help them get used faster than a medicine designed from scratch.

As investigators publish decisions on these promising medicines, they’re starting tests on animals and people to see how well they do. No one should try self-medicating with any of the medicines for COVID-19, the researchers suggested, since they may have hazardous side results and have yet to be proven useful in clinical tests.

Hidden Abilities Of Drugs

The procedure Dr. Chanda and other investigators are using are known as drug repurposing. It has a history that began decades before COVID -19 developed. In 1987, for instance, the cancer medication zidovudine became the first FDA-approved remedy against H.I.V.

The most likely remedies to repurpose against the brand-new coronavirus are those that work against other diseases. One high-profile antiviral being studied is remdesivir, which Gilead Sciences previously tested — unsuccessfully — as an antiviral against Ebola.

On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government’s managing infectious illnesses scientist, stated that a clinical trial showed that remdesivir might reduce the mortality rate of Covid-19 and can shorten the term of the disease.

But over the years, investigators have found some drugs that originally had nothing to do with diseases turn out to be useful antivirals, too. It’s just hard to tell in progress which ones have this hidden power.

Most Popular Remedies

Recently, Dr. Chanda’s team in California began a research of their own for medications against coronavirus. They doused infected cells with 13,000 unions and looked for ones that reduced down the virus.

They then narrowed down these competitors by overcoming their doses, to mimic the levels that would end up in a patient’s lungs.

On April 17, Dr. Chanda’s team announced in a preprint, which has not yet been peer-reviewed by a journal, that six medications gave particular word, including one for osteoporosis and one that’s been studied as a remedy for arthritis.

Yet another team has been working to find medications that work against coronavirus — and also to learn why they work.

The organization, led by Nevan Krogan at the University of California, San Francisco, has focused on how the new coronavirus takes over our cells at the molecular level.

The Investigation Outcomes

The investigators concluded that the virus manages our cells by locking onto at least 332 of our proteids. By manipulating those proteins, the virus makes our cells to make new viruses.

Dr. Krogan’s team found 69 medications that target the same proteins in our cells the virus does. They announced the list in a preprint last month, recommending that some might show useful against COVID-19.

The investigators sent the compounds to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Those labs worked them out on infected cells.

Brian Shoichet, a pharmaceutical chemist at U.C.S.F. who assisted build the list, was very aware of how often medication repurposing fails.

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