Leprosy drug can help fight COVID-19

March 23, 2021 Health
SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that triggers COVID-19, isn't the sole zoonotic coronavirus. In fact, it's the third to possess emerged since the move of the hundred years. It had been preceded by serious respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and MERS in 2012.

There will tend to be more coronaviruses if the recent past is any indication. Nevertheless, there aren't currently many medicines that can effectively combat them.

Researchers have been racing to identify existing drugs that may be of use in this fight, with one team this past year identifying 21 existing drugs seeing that showing assurance. Among these was a leprosy drug called clofazimine, which has proven powerful against both SARS and MERS in laboratory experiments.

A fresh study from researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in NORTH PARK, CA, and the University of Hong Kong in Pok Fu Lam shows that it may also be useful in treating COVID-19.

Clofazimine exhibits antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2 and limitations the intensive inflammatory response that commonly occurs with COVID-19.

The study has undergone peer review and will soon come in edited form in the journal Nature.

A drug that's well-known and safe
If researchers confirm clofazimine’s efficacy, authorities could immediately deploy the drug against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.

The Food and Medicine Administration (FDA) have previously approved it for use against leprosy, and it is on the World Wellness Organization (WHO)’s Model Set of Essential Medicines. Industry experts have carefully vetted the medication for safeness, though it isn't currently available accessible in the United States.

Co-senior study author Dr. Sumit K. Chanda - of the Immunity and Pathogenesis Plan at Sanford Burnham Prebys - says, “Clofazimine is a perfect prospect for a COVID-19 treatment. It is safe, affordable, simple to make, considered as a pill and will be made globally available.”

Dr. Chanda explains, “We hope to check clofazimine in a phase 2 clinical trial as soon as possible for people who test positive for COVID-19 but aren't hospitalized,” adding:

“Since there is currently no outpatient treatment designed for these individuals, clofazimine may help decrease the impact of the disease, which is specially important right now as we see new variants of the virus emerge and against that your current vaccines appear less efficacious.”

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