Small molecule therapy to treat patients infected with COVID-19 virus.
- Current FDA-approved therapeutic can be repurposed to fight COVID-19 infection.
- Treatment option for infected COVID-19 patients.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The majority of people infected with the COVID-19 virus experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. However, the elderly and those who are immunocompromised are substantially more likely to develop severe illness leading to death. Since its emergence, there have been more than 365 million infected and over 5 million deaths worldwide. Although the FDA has authorized several vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Jonson to prevent COVID-19 infection, limited treatment options are available for those who are already infected. Those infected who are susceptible to severe disease are often treated with dexamethasone and tocilizumab. Those on ventilators are treated with various cocktails of remdesivir, dexamethasone plus remdesivir, or dexamethasone alone. Unfortunately, these treatment options have limited efficacy; hence there is a need for new medicines for this deadly infection.
Emory researchers have examined the use of R-propranolol (a current FDA-approved drug used for high blood pressure) and honokiol (isolated from the Magnolia tree) for the treatment of COVID-19 infection and subsequent cytokine storm. Researchers found the treatment of R-propranolol inhibited replication of SARS-CoV-2 (IC50 = 12.25). Treatment of honokiol, which is known to have anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic effects, demonstrated over 50% reduced viability and 70% cell toxicity at 50 uM concentration. FDA approval of either of these inhibitors could decrease the high mortality rate associated with severe COVID-19 infection.
In vitro studies are underway.
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Name: Cale Lennon
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