What is it about?

COVID19 had no approved treatment or medicines when it first broke out. With the disease steadily claiming lives, it was necessary to develop medicines to treat it. But, developing medicines from scratch is a long and complex process. These medicines need to pass several levels of approval, before they can be prescribed to humans. But what is the alternative? We could use existing drugs and modify them to suit treatment of COVID19. This 2020 article discusses the possibility of these "repurposed" drugs. Broadly, these drugs work by either: • Directly acting on the virus that causes COVID19, and prevent it from multiplying in our bodies • Working with our immune cells to target the functioning of the virus; or • Modulate the host's innate immune response against the virus: either boosting our immunity and helping our body eliminate the virus or suppressing our immune system to ensure it doesn't cause us excessive harm. The authors also highlight ways to accelerate drug development. They discuss the option of quickly screening libraries for information on approved antiviral drugs. We can then use the ingredients in these medicines to formulate new ones.

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Why is it important?

This strategy of modifying existing drugs could be very useful in times of crises. It could be applied to treat new diseases in their early stages. Eventually, it would help to avoid widespread death and hospitalization. KEY TAKEAWAY: Research is progressively unravelling the nuances of our immune response against the novel coronavirus. Knowledge of existing antiviral drugs should be used to develop new drugs against COVID19.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Old Drugs for a New Virus: Repurposed Approaches for Combating COVID-19, ACS Infectious Diseases, July 2020, American Chemical Society (ACS), DOI: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.0c00343.
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