Study Finds Existing Drug Compounds to be Effective against SARS-CoV-2

Jul, 2021 - By SMI

Study Finds Existing Drug Compounds to be Effective against SARS-CoV-2

A team of researchers from France investigated various existing drug compounds to examine their potential antiviral capacities against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

COVID-19, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, has catastrophic impact on the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector across the globe. According to the World Health Organization’s report, almost 183 million people have been affected by SARS-CoV-2, with almost 3.9 million people succumbing to the COVID-19 disease worldwide as of July 6, 2021. This figure is alarming and, thus, there is a need to develop effective vaccines and drugs that can target this virus. Although, several vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and others are globally administered, there still remains a lack of affordable drugs which can prove to be effective against SARS-CoV-2. Thus, there is a need to develop antiviral therapeutics for treating severe COVID-19 patients. Moreover, the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern has increased the necessity to develop effective therapeutics.

In this study, a team of researchers from France designed a method known as high content screen (HCS) with the help of Apteeus, a drug library. This drug library includes a detailed collection of 1,942 approved drugs. The HCS method was applied for screening and identifying molecules that show antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2. The drug screening was performed on Vero-81, an African green monkey kidney cell line. Importantly, a majority of the compounds that were analyzed in this drug screen were related to basic molecules such as chloroquine, fluphenazine, triflupromazine, and trifluoperazine. In this context, it is important to note that SARS-CoV-2 utilize two different entry points such as endocytosis and TMPRSS2 to gain access to the host cell.

The researchers found three compounds out of all the compounds considered for drug screening to exhibit a dose-dependent antiviral effect against SARS-CoV-2 in Vero-81 cells, both in the presence and absence of TMPRSS2.

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