NIH Scientists Say They May Have Found A Promising New Oral Antiviral Drug
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Scientists may have found a promising new treatment for Covid-19 after an experimental oral antiviral drug demonstrated the ability to prevent the coronavirus from replicating, the National Institutes of Health said Thursday, citing a new study.
The drug, called TEMPOL, can reduce Covid-19 infections by altering an enzyme the virus needs to reproduce once in human cells, which could potentially limit the severity of the disease, NIH researchers said. . The drug has been tested in a cell culture experiment with live viruses.
“We urgently need additional effective and accessible treatments for COVID-19,” said Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of NIH. “An oral drug that prevents SARS-CoV-2 from replicating would be an important tool in reducing the severity of the disease.”
The results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.
While vaccines have been incredibly helpful in reducing cases of Covid-19 in the United States and other parts of the world, scientists say treatments are still essential for those infected with the virus.
The United States is still reporting an average of around 16,300 infections per day on Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir is the only drug that has received full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of Covid, and that must be administered intravenously in hospital.
Pfizer, which developed the first Covid-19 vaccine authorized in the United States with the German drug maker BioNTech, is also developing an oral medication for the Covid which can be taken at home at the first signs of illness. The researchers hope the drug will stop the disease from progressing and prevent trips to the hospital. He started a preliminary test in March.
NIH researchers said they plan to conduct additional preliminary studies and will seek opportunities to evaluate the drug in a clinical study of Covid.
The results of the study were “encouraging,” said Dr. Tracey Rouault, another NIH official who led the study.
“However, clinical studies are needed to determine whether the drug is effective in patients, particularly early in the course of the disease when the virus begins to replicate.”