New COVID-19 study highlights several FDA-approved drugs that might be effective

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In the battle against coronavirus outbreak, many believe that a breakthrough is almost within reach than what was projected earlier. Several clinical trials are already reporting promising results and are moving on to the next phases. Currently, the overall consensus notes that healthcare experts are closer to the discovery of a cure or vaccine. In fact, a paper recently submitted for peer-review and publication details several drugs that could be potentially effective for the treatment of COVID-19.

Thanks to a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), scientists might have a valuable understanding now. Generally, upon transmission, viruses target certain cells of its host to replicate its genetic material, which in turn infect other healthy cells. Hence, the goal is to identify which proteins in the human body are susceptible and introduce medication that hinders the virus’ movements.

This latest research that could be beneficial in the fight against COVID-19 was headed by professor Nevan J. Krogan of the UCSF. Detailed in an article from Medical News Today, he and his colleagues are credited for their work in 2011, wherein they mapped human proteins that are typically targeted by viruses in order to multiply. Their latest paper that is supposedly due for publication soon, highlights 29 potential drug candidates.

Equally notable is that the ones listed have been already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These are being used to treat diseases such as schizophrenia, type 2 diabetes, and cancer among others. The goal is to safely repurpose these to hone in the proteins that are essential to the coronavirus.

According to Prof. Krogan, “to devise therapeutic strategies to counteract SARS-CoV-2 infection … it is crucial to develop a comprehensive understanding of how this coronavirus hijacks the host during the course of infection, and to apply this knowledge towards developing both new drugs and repurposing existing ones.”


South Korea has announced its highest number of new coronavirus cases for more than a month, driven by an infection cluster in a Seoul nightlife district.
Photo: AFP / Ed JONES

As expected, controversial anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were also included in the paper. There were the ones lauded by journalists and politicians earlier this year, but are yet to be approved for COVID-19 treatments due to its potential toxicity in unregulated doses.