The FDA has just approved the first coronavirus drug – but...

The FDA has just approved the first coronavirus drug – but...
The FDA has just approved the first coronavirus drug – but...
  • The researchers tested a cancer drug called plitidepsin as a coronavirus therapy and found that it could block the virus’ ability to replicate.
  • Using plitidepsin reduced viral loads after just seven days and improved blood test markers for inflammation.
  • Almost 40% of a limited group of patients who received various doses of plitidepsin were discharged after just eight days in the hospital.

Doctors keen to develop therapies to cure patients infected with the novel coronavirus have tried all kinds of drugs to prevent the virus from spreading throughout the body. Reusing other drugs is a practice that has had some immediate results. Currently, remdesivir and dexamethasone are the only drugs that have been shown to accelerate COVID-19 recovery. Remdesivir is the first coronavirus COVID-19 drug to gain FDA approval. Blood thinners are also common coronavirus therapies to prevent blood clotting, which can affect multiple organs. Other drugs have not been as successful, including the controversial hydroxychloroquine and other therapies that looked promising in the early months of the pandemic.

Researchers from Spain believe they have another drug on hand that may even work better than remdesivir against the novel coronavirus. It’s called aplidine (plitidepsin) and is used in cancer therapy. Research to date has shown that the drug has antiviral effects and prevents the coronavirus from multiplying after it infects cells. As a result, plitidepsin can dramatically reduce recovery time and help hospitals cope with their increasing COVID-19 cases. The drug is about to begin its Phase 3 study.

The researchers used plitidepsin in 27 patients with severe forms of COVID-19, Spanish news site The avant-garde reported a few days ago. Almost 40% of the patients in the study improved significantly and were discharged after eight days. Almost 81% of the patients were discharged on day 15. None of the patients developed any additional signs or symptoms of COVID-19 on day 30.

Between the ages of 18 and 85, patients were recruited in 10 hospitals in Catalonia, Madrid and Castilla La Mancha. The patients were divided into three groups (1.5 mg, 2.0 mg, and 2.5 mg plitidepsin) and various parameters tested, including viral load and markers of inflammation.

The viral load was reduced by 50% after one week of treatment and by 70% after 15 days. According to the report, the inflammation parameters were also reduced (C-reactive protein).

Plitidepsin binds to a human protein that the virus needs to replicate, EF1A. When this is the case, the coronavirus cannot multiply as efficiently and it cannot spread throughout the body. The paper suggests that the drug could be especially useful in the early days of infection to prevent the rapid proliferation of the virus that can lead to severe COVID-19 cases. The drug was originally synthesized from the Ecology Albicans Species, but it’s now made synthetically.

“In addition to reducing the time it takes to develop the disease, our goal was to reduce viral loads quickly to avoid the consequences that many patients suffer from who suffer from Covid months later, such as: B. Fatigue, ”said Luis Mora, General Manager of PharmaMar Paper. “And right now it seems that this molecule is successful.”

The company will move to a Phase 3 study that will begin in the coming months and will involve thousands of volunteers. Spain was one of the main COVID-19 zones in Europe in the spring, but was able to reduce the spread significantly by the summer. The country is currently experiencing a virus resurgence, much like the rest of the continent, and it has recently exceeded more than a million confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Other scientists have also studied plitidepsin, with three other teams examining the molecule in laboratory tests. Plitidepsin was able to inhibit the replication of the new coronavirus in vitro much better than remdesivir, according to the findings of the coronavirus laboratory of the National Center for Biotechnology (CNB). The Institute for Emerging Pathogens at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York also examined the substance and found that only a small dose was needed to work, which would make it non-toxic to humans. Finally, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS), IrsiCaixa and CReSA compared plitidepsin to dozens of other molecules that could inhibit SARS-CoV-2. They found that plitidepsin was “the one with the strongest antiviral activity against the coronavirus”.

The avant-garde notes that the results of the previous plitidepsin tests were published on the same day that the results of the WHO solidarity study were published. PharmaMar announced the results in a press release while the full study is pending publication.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby and before he knew it he was sharing his views on technical matters with readers all over the world. Whenever he’s not writing about devices, he miserably doesn’t stay away from them, even though he tries desperately. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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