Researchers from Hong Kong have reported a novel antiviral strategy for treatment of Covid-19. They have found that a class of existing drugs, which are currently used in the treatment of other infectious diseases, can suppress replication of SARS-CoV-2 and relieve Covid-19 symptoms in an animal model.
Their findings are published in Nature Microbiology.
These are metallodrugs, which consist of metal compounds. Generally, metal compounds are used as anti-microbial agents, but their antiviral activities have rarely been explored, the researchers said.
Their findings now provide a new therapeutic option for treatment of Covid-19. The researchers screened metallodrugs and related compounds including ranitidine bismuthcitrate(RBC), a commonly used anti-ulcer drug which contains the metal bismuth.
They identified RBC as a potent anti SARS-CoV-2 agent. RBC targets a protein called Nsp13, which is essential for SARS-CoV-2 to replicate.
The experiments showed that RBC reduces viral loads by over 1,000-fold in SARS-CoV-2-infected cells.
In a golden Syrian hamster, RBC was found to suppress SARS-CoV-2 replication and reduce viral loads by 100-fold in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, and to mitigate virus-associated pneumonia.
Source: Hong Kong University
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