Scientists are in a race against time to test both existing drugs and experimental therapies in the hope one of them can slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Among those are medications used to treat cancer, high blood pressure, gout, heartburn and depression.
Researchers believe the pills may help with a variety of conditions including stopping the virus from entering our cells, preventing lung damage and abating the immune system’s overreaction to the virus.
Here are of some the drugs being with clinical trials either underway or soon to be underway and why scientists think they may turn reverse the course of the pandemic.
Scientists say they are testing existing medications, such as ruxoltinib (pictured), a cancer drug, in the hope one of them can slow down the spread of the coronavirus
Another drug, losartan (left), is commonly used treat high blood pressure and it may prevent the virus from entering our cells. Scientists are also examining fluvoxamine (right), an antidepressant that could ward off life-threatening inflammation
One of the drugs being tested is ruxolitinib, a drug used to treat myelofibrosis, which is a cancer of the bone marrow.
It hinders inflammation, which helps control the immune system response, and even kills some kinds of cancer cells.
A clinical trial of ruxolitinb from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis is hoping to start next month, according to regulators.
Researchers hope the medication will help ward off cytokine storms, which is when the body doesn’t just fight off the virus but also attacks its own cells and tissues.
But that’s not the only cancer drug being tested. Scientists are also looking at etoposide, a chemotherapy drug used to treat several types of cancer, including lung cancer, lymphomas and testicular cancer.
Similarly, a team at Boston Medical Center is conducting a study on the safety and efficacy of using etoposide in coronavirus patients to prevent cytokine storms.
Some clinical trials are being launched without any idea if the drug will help abate the coronavirus, just an idea that they may prevent patients from becoming life-threateningly ill.
One of those trials will test fluvoxamine, an antidepressant that is most commonly used to treat treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.
It works by restoring the balance of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that elevates mood, in the brain.
The medication also binds to a protein that prevents inflammation, which means it could prevent the immune system’s overreaction to the virus or shortness of breath.
A 2019 study from the University of Virginia found fluvoxamine protected mice from going into septic shock.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine are launching a clinical trial in patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 – the disease caused by the virus – but are not sick enough to be hospitalized.
‘Using a psychiatric drug to treat COVID-19 may sound counterintuitive, but it’s no more counterintuitive than using a malaria drug,’ said principal investigator Dr Eric Lenze in a statement.
‘This drug has been around for decades, so we know how to use it safely. If effective, it could be an ideal drug to repurpose for outpatients with COVID.’
Other medications are being examined to see if they can stop the virus from entering cells or multiplying within the body.
One of them is losartan, a drug commonly used treat high blood pressure that works by blocking a substance in the body that causes blood vessels to tighten.
Researchers believe it may prevent the virus from causing serious damage to the lungs and prevent patients from becoming seriously ill.
That’s because losartan may block the receptor that the virus uses to ‘hijack’ cells, replicate and spread throughout the body.
Source: Daily Mail | Health News