The recent outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan has infected thousands of people, especially in China. As of till now 80,000 confirmed cases have been reported in mainland China. Additionally, imported cases of coronavirus were identified in many other countries including Thailand, Japan, South Korea, United States, Vietnam, Singapore, Nepal, India, France, Australia, and Canada. The cause of the outbreak has been named novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus belongs to the same family as SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV) which cause epidemic and killed many in the early 2000s.
The virus is spreading everywhere infecting thousands of innocent people. But there is no drug available for treatment. Scientists around the globe are working their best to develop a drug for the treatment of infected patients. The quickest solution is to check whether we can treat patients using the drugs that are currently available for treating other viral infections. So, A scientist from Wuhan Institute of Virology tested the possibility of using 5 FDA approved drugs for treatment against coronavirus. Among those five, Remdesivir and Chloroquine were found to be effective in killing the virus in-vitro with low toxicity to the human cells.
Remdesivir is used as a drug for a broad range of antiviral treatment, including SARS/MERS. Currently, it is in a clinical trial for the treatment of the Ebola virus. It acts against the virus by hampering the transcription of viral RNA and terminating the nascent RNA prematurely.
Chloroquine is an anti-malarial and autoimmune disease drug which has recently been reported as a potential broad-spectrum antiviral drug. Chloroquine blocks virus infection by increasing endosomal pH. In a high pH, the fusion of the virus with the human cells is blocked. Chloroquine is a cheap and safe drug that has been used for more than 70 years.
These two drugs are a potential choice for clinical application against the 2019- nCoV.
Reference: Remdesivir and Chloroquine Effectively Inhibit the Recently Emerged Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Vitro. Cell Research. Feb, 2020.
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