Scientists have recently identified 69 drugs and experimental compounds that may be effective in combating the novel coronavirus.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported:
Some of the medications are already used to treat other diseases, and repurposing them to treat Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, may be faster than trying to invent a new antiviral from scratch, the scientists said.
The list of drug candidates appeared in a study published on the web site bioRxiv. The researchers have submitted the paper to a journal for publication.
The Trump administration has slashed red tape to distribute unapproved therapies and vaccines to patients in need faster and to identify effective drugs. Health officials have named the virus itself SARS CoV-2 and the illness caused by the virus COVID-19.
Among the 69 drugs that scientists believe may be effective against COVID-19 is chloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria.
Mainstream media outlets have blasted U.S. President Donald Trump for touting the anti-malaria drug chloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus patients.
The media went as far as blaming Trump for the death of an Arizona man who died after self-medicating with a fish tank cleaner that contains chloroquine.
Trump’s comments about the anti-malaria drug have been in line with scientists and doctors who believe the treatment has shown anecdotal promise in treating people infected by coronavirus while acknowledging that more tests need to be conducted on the risky drug.
Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, the U.S. state hardest-hit by the virus, also believes the anti-malaria drugs may be effective in treating coronavirus patients, saying clinical studies will start on Tuesday.
The mainstream media has not lambasted the Democrat governor for suggesting that the anti-malaria drug may be used against coronavirus.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) also said it would begin trials of chloroquine and other drugs that may potentially be used against coronavirus.
The researchers trying to find treatments to use against coronavirus “sought drugs that also latch onto the human proteins that the coronavirus seems to need to enter and replicate in human cells,” the Times noted.
Ultimately, the scientist identified 24 drugs already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDCA) to treat unrelated diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, hypertension, schizophrenia, and diabetes.
The Times added:
The investigators also found candidates among compounds that are now in clinical trials or that are the subject of early research. Intriguingly, some of the possible treatments are drugs used to attack parasites.
And the list includes antibiotics that kill bacteria by gumming up the cellular machinery they use to build proteins. But some of those drugs also attach to human proteins. The new study raises the possibility that this side effect might turn out to be an antiviral treatment.
Last week, the company Distributed Bio announced it was three to four weeks away from engineering an antibody treatment to combat the novel coronavirus that can be ready to be administered to patients by the fall.