Corona Drug Research: Five Leads of Hope

The scientists across the world are working overtime to develop a drug or vaccine to treat corona virus which is spreading fast, killing thousands and infecting over a million people across the world.

Here are a few leads and trials in advanced stages that could give hope to millions:

1.Breakthrough by University of British Columbia:

Doctors from University of British Columbia, backed by emergency federal funding, have found found a trial drug that can treat early infection of the novel coronavirus. Led by UBC’s Dr. Josef Penninger, the team developed a drug candidate called APN01, which can “significantly block early stages” of COVID-19.

The researchers claimed that it can “physically block the door to the virus so it cannot enter” a person’s body. Besides, it can actually to protect tissues like the lung, the heart or the kidneys from damage.

2. Tests in Mice:

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine scientists have announced a potential vaccine which was already tested in mice and delivered through a fingertip-sized patch. They sound it producing antibodies specific to SARS-CoV-2 at quantities thought to be sufficient for neutralizing the virus.

“We had previous experience on SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014. These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus. We knew exactly where to fight this new virus,” said co-senior author Andrea Gambotto, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine. “That’s why it’s important to fund vaccine research. You never know where the next pandemic will come from.”

“Our ability to rapidly develop this vaccine was a result of scientists with expertise in diverse areas of research working together with a common goal,” said co-senior author Louis Falo, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of dermatology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and UPMC.

3. Ivermectin Trials

A collaborative study led by the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Doherty Institute found the drug Ivermectin stops coronavirus growing in cell culture.The next step is to determine whether it can effectively treat coronavirus in humans, and learn what a safe dosage would be.

Ivermectin has been used around the world for years as a treatment for a range of conditions including head lice and scabies, and it is available as a pill, lotion and shampoo.

“There is no reason to be buying lice treatment unless you’re going to be using it on your children’s hair,” the researchers said.

4. FDA allows nation-wide trials

US Food and Drug Administration have approved plans for nationwide trials of two treatments for Covid-19 using the therapeutic agents—convalescent plasma and hyperimmune globulin.

Both are derived from the blood of people who have recovered from the disease, decoctions of the antibodies that the human immune system makes to fight off germs.

“This is an important area of research—the use of products made from a recovered patient’s blood to potentially treat Covid-19,” said FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn in a release announcing the trials. “The FDA had played a key role in organizing a partnership between industry, academic institutions, and government agencies to facilitate expanded access to convalescent plasma. This is certainly a great example of how we can all come together to take swift action to help the American people during a crisis.”

5. WHO-led trials

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that the second protocol for the Solidarity Trial will be launched soon.

“WHO would soon be launching a second protocol for the Solidarity Trial that will help establish incidence and prevalence of infection and the future behaviour of the virus,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia said in a press statement.

At least three South-East Asia member countries, including India, Indonesia and Thailand have already signed up for the multi-country trial, which will compare the safety and effectiveness of four different drugs or drug combinations against COVID-19.


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