Three existing drugs that were repurposed for the fight against SARS-CoV-2 by Israeli scientists have been shown in the laboratory to be almost 100% effective.
In addition to vaccines, researchers are trying to find drugs to combat Covid-19 in infected patients. Israeli scientists have announced that they have found three highly effective drugs against the virus, as laboratory tests of their existing treatments have shown them to be almost 100% effective.
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3 out of 3,000 drugs
The researchers put the compounds in contact with live SARS-CoV-2 cells and human cells in vitro. “The drugs are able to protect cells from viral attack with almost 100% effectiveness, meaning that almost 100% of the cells survived despite viral infection,” Isaiah Arkin, a biochemist at Hebrew University who initiated the study, told The Times of Israel. Under normal conditions, about half of the cells would have died within two days of exposure to the virus.” These treatments should also work against variants.
Before discovering these treatments, the researchers said they had examined more than 3,000 drugs to see if they were effective against SARS-CoV-2. “A needle in a haystack,” summed up Isaiah Arkin, who works in a center at Hebrew University that specializes in repurposing existing drugs. The fact that these drugs already exist means that they can be used more quickly once their effectiveness is proven because they have already undergone numerous tests to prove their safety.
The spike protein not targeted
The availability of the drugs would be a new asset in the fight against Covid. “We have a vaccine, but we cannot rest yet and I would like to see these drugs become part of our arsenal to fight the coronavirus,” says Isaiah Arkin. He would like to partner with a pharmaceutical company to quickly move the drugs he has identified into clinical trials.
The drugs in question are Darapladib, which treats atherosclerosis, Flumatinib, a cancer drug, and an HIV drug. None of these drugs target the Spike protein. They target two other proteins: the envelope protein and protein 3a. They have the advantage of not changing in the different variants, or even from one disease in the coronavirus family to another. “The envelope protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is about 95% identical to the envelope protein of the first SARS epidemic virus of 2003, while the spike protein is less than 80% identical,” said Isaiah Arkin.