New Antiviral Drug Cocktail Could Help India Control Brutal Covid-19 Surge

As a brutal second wave of Covid-19 infections rages on in India, more and more states are reporting critical shortages of ventilators and vaccines. The relative scarcity of these provisions means they’ll be difficult to wrangle in time to staunch further suffering and death. But there are drug therapies that could—in fact, they might be sitting on the shelves of physicians and pharmacists across the country. Experts have known for some time that no single therapy will effectively prevent and treat Covid-19. What we need, especially now that highly infectious variants of SARS-CoV-2 are on the loose, is a veritable cocktail of drugs that overwhelms the virus through multiple lines of attack, giving it little opportunity to resist, evolve, or escape. The results of a new study, published in Cell magazine last month, suggest that a cocktail of one polymerase inhibitor—in this case remdesivir—and two hepatitis C drugs might do the trick. The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase makes a good drug target because it is so essential to the replication strategy of SARS-CoV-2. Viewed in terms of the entire viral genome, this enzyme consists of three nonstructural proteins: nsp7, nsp8, and nsp12. Another exemplary target—what the seven different hepatitis C virus (HCV) drugs used in this study inhibit—are two proteases, enzymes that break down proteins into pieces a virus can use to copy itself. Read full article on Forbes Originally published on Forbes (May 5, 2021)
© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.