Researchers from the UK and Germany have hailed a potential drug to combat coronavirus as “very encouraging.”
The new treatment could potentially stop Covid-19 entering host cells in the body.
Developed by experts from the University of Kent, alongside colleagues in Frankfurt and Hanover, the new drug delayed activity against Sars-Cov-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
How does it work?
The drug is made of protease inhibitor aprotinin. Researchers found that aprotinin inhibits the entry of Sars-CoV-2 into host cells.
Professors Martin Micaelis, from the University of Kent, said, “The aprotinin aerosol has been reported to be tolerated extremely well in influenza patients.
“Hence, it may have a particular potential to prevent severe Covid-19 disease when applied early after diagnosis.
“Aprotinin displayed activity against different virus isolates and in different models, including primary cells directly from the lung. This is very encouraging.”
Aprotinin aerosols are approved in Russia for the treatment of influenza and could be readily tested for the treatment of Covid-19, according to the researchers.
The study was published in the journal, Cells.
Are there any other treatments for coronavirus?
Potential vaccines for coronavirus are currently being tested around the world, but this isn’t the only way researchers are attempting to tackle the virus.
No vaccine will be able to prevent all cases of the disease, so scientists are working to develop possible treatments for Covid-19.
Instead of solely attempting to develop new treatments, which can take years, some are doing what is known as ‘repurposing’ drugs, where they take existing medications and find out whether they could be used in new ways to help people recover from Covid.
Examples of this in action is the use of Remdesivir as a broad spectrum antiviral drug. Antivirals attempt to directly block the ability of the coronavirus to infect and reproduce itself within the body.
Remdesivir is currently considered one of the two most promising drugs to treat Covid-19, along with dexamethasone. The antiviral was originally developed to treat hepatitis C, and was also tested to try and treat the ebola virus.
Another repurposing project is hydroxychloroquine. The drug has been used for decades to treat malaria and certain auto-immune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It became better known after President Donald Trump revealed he was taking it because he thought it would prevent coronavirus.
Anti-inflammatory drugs are also being tested to see if they can safely dampen down the body’s immune response. This includes ibuprofen and corticosteroids.
Treatments are being tested that will attempt to manage the severe complications that can be developed in people with Covid-19, such as clotting in the lungs or heart.