Can antiviral drugs be effective against Covid-19?

eAwaz Medicine

New York – Researchers have found three commonly used antiviral and antimalarial drugs can be effective in vitro at preventing replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The team, which included researchers from North Carolina State University and Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, looked at three antiviral drugs that were effective against Ebola and the Marburg virus: tilorone, quinacrine and pyronaridine.
Ana Puhl, senior scientist at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals and co-corresponding author of the research, said: “We were looking for compounds that could block the entry of the virus into the cell. We chose these compounds because we know that other antivirals which successfully act against Ebola are also effective inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2. One of the more interesting findings here is that these compounds don’t just prevent the virus from potentially binding to the cells, but that they may also inhibit viral activity because these compounds are acting on the lysosomes. Lysosomes, which are important for normal cell function, are hijacked by the virus for entry and exit out of the cell. So, if that mechanism is disrupted, it cannot infect other cells.”
Frank Scholle, associate professor of biology at NC State and co-author of the research, said: “In the human-derived cell lines, we found that all three compounds worked similarly to remdesivir, which is currently being used to treat COVID-19. However, they were not at all effective in the Vero cells.” Sean Ekins, CEO of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals and co-corresponding author of the research, said: “Researchers saw similar results when these compounds were initially tested against Ebola. They were effective in human-derived cell lines, but not in Vero cells. This is important because Vero cells are one of the standard models used in this type of testing. In other words, different cells lines may have differing responses to a compound. It points to the necessity of testing compounds in many different cell lines to rule out false negatives.”