An international team, including scientists of Indian origin, has identified 69 drugs and experimental compounds that may be effective in the treatment of COVD-19.
According to the researchers, some of the drugs are already used to treat diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and redirecting them to treat COVID-19 may be faster than trying to invent a new vaccine.
In the new study, published on the preprinted bioRxiv website, scientists studied 26 of the 29 coronavirus genes that drive the production of viral proteins.
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“The team took a different approach, targeting host proteins, not viral proteins. 26 of 29 SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins have been studied in human cells to find out which human proteins they interact with”, Gina T Nguyen, deputy director of Communications & Events, Quantitative Biosciences Institute, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the United States, told PTI in an email.
About 332 human proteins interacted with the viral proteins SARS-CoV-2, the researchers said, including Advait Subramanian, Srivats Venkataramanan and Jyoti Batra, all from UCSF.
These are the proteins on which the virus, which has killed more than 2,1000 people and infected more than 4,71,000 worldwide so far, relies on to reproduce and carry out infection in humans, has they declared.
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“69 drugs that can target these proteins have been identified, 25 of which are already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and could be used off-label.
“The drugs identified include those that are taken safely to treat conditions such as: type II diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure,” said Nguyen.
Some viral proteins appeared to target a single human protein, while others are capable of targeting a dozen human cellular proteins, the researchers said.
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They noted that there is currently no proven antiviral medication or vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, the scientific community has little knowledge of the molecular details of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the team wrote in a summary.
Identification of host dependence factors mediating virus infection may provide key information about effective molecular targets for developing broad-acting antiviral therapies against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronavirus strains deadly, the researchers said.