pte20210607001 Medicine / Wellness, Research / Development
Preclinical experiments with cepharanthine and nelfinavir successful, according to Japanese researchers
Laboratory experiment: drug screening (Photo: unsplash.com, Louis Reed)
Tokyo (pte001 / 06/07/2021 / 06:00) – Researchers from Japan, the US and the UK have launched a project to effectively treat COVID-19. Several researchers from Tokyo University of Science http://www.tus.ac.jp/en were involved. Her goal is to cure COVID-19. To do this, the scientists created an experimental system for screening drugs that could help control the infection.
VeroE6 / TMPRSS2 infected
This system uses a type of cell called VeroE6 / TMPRSS2. They were modified so that they were effectively infected with SARS-CoV-2 and also produced it themselves. According to researcher Koichi Watashi, only the VeroE6 / TMPRSS2 cells were exposed to the drug and SARS-CoV-2 to test the possible effectiveness of a drug in fighting the infection. It was then observed whether the presence of the drug prevented the virus from trying to infect the cells.
The researchers used this setting to review a panel of drugs that are already approved for clinical use. This also included drugs such as remdesivir and chloroquine, which are already approved for the treatment of COVID-19 or are currently being tested. The researchers found two drugs that effectively suppressed SARS-CoV-2. These are cepharanthine, which is used to treat inflammation, and nelfinavir, which is approved for use against HIV infections.
Eliminate in five days
Cepharanthin prevented the virus from entering the cells by preventing the virus from attaching to a protein on the cell membrane. The virus uses this protein as a gateway. In contrast, nelfinavir worked by preventing the virus from multiplying inside the cell. To do this, a protein was suppressed that the virus depends on for reproduction.
Because these two drugs have specific antiviral mechanisms, co-administration could be particularly effective in patients. Mathematical models predict that the combined treatment with cepharanthine / nelfinavir can accelerate the elimination of SARS-CoV-2 from a patient’s lungs by up to 4.9 days. The research results were published in “iScience”.