Osteoporosis drug reduces coronavirus infection in human cells by 85%, scientists say, opening the door to a new, rapid treatment for the disease.
Apilimod, a widely used drug, is one of 13 new drugs that were found to be effective in fighting the coronavirus when scientists looked at almost 12,000 treatments to see if any of them could fight Covid- 19.
Reusing drugs is a quick way to find new treatments because safety concerns have already been addressed, making them available faster.
Other drugs found to have anti-Covid-19 properties include an anti-HIV drug called R 82913 and treatment for diabetes.
A drug developed to treat autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease may also be effective, the scientists conclude in an article published in the journal Nature.
The drugs have been tested for their ability to prevent SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, from replicating in human lung tissue.
Apilimod was found to have the greatest effect of all, reducing the number of infected cells by 85 percent.
The study was carried out by researchers at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in California.
Commenting on the results, Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor at Leeds University School of Medicine, said: ‘As the pandemic continues to afflict much of the planet, it is clear that the fact of having so many weapons in our arsenal to combat this virus is of utmost importance. ”
Professor Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading, added: “This study is a tour de force in the ability to rapidly screen existing drugs for their ability to inhibit the coronavirus.
“The advantage of this approach is that the drugs are already in use for other conditions and could therefore be immediately reused for use in cases of Covid.
“However, the downside of any of these drugs is that they have to be given as early as possible in order to stop the damage from the virus, but since mild symptoms are common, at least with infection. early, the therapies used are not initiated. until someone is hospitalized, which is a bit late. ”
The results were published in the journal Nature.