(Reuters) – Combining Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir – the current standard of care for hospitalized COVID-19 patients – with oral drugs used to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) might be more effective than remdesivir alone, laboratory experiments suggest.
Four HCV drugs that work synergistically with remdesivir “are especially interesting,” said Gaetano Montelione of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
The drugs – simeprevir, grazoprevir, paritaprevir, and vaniprevir – inhibit a protein in the coronavirus called PLpro, while remdesivir, which is given intravenously, targets viral polymerase proteins.
In test tube experiments, these HCV drugs increased remdesivir’s antiviral activity as much as 10-fold, according to a paper published in Cell Reports by a 13-member team that included Montelione, Robert Krug at the University of Texas at Austin, and Kris White and Adolfo Garcia-Sastre at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Drug companies are developing oral drugs that target the same viral proteins as remdesivir. If those become available, Montelione said, it may be possible to offer them in combination with a hepatitis C drug for use at home, before COVID-19 patients become so ill that they need to be hospitalized.
“So far all of the research has been performed in cells,” he noted, “and this approach must undergo further testing, perhaps first in animals, and then in clinical trials.”
SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3voCkIM Cell Reports, online April 26, 2021
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