Three existing drugs active (in vitro) against SARS-CoV-2

A team of Israeli scientists led by Prof. Isaiah Arkin, a biochemist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has identified three drugs that are nearly 100% effective in treating Covid-19.

This is reassuring information from Israel. Professor Isaiah Arkin, a biochemist at Hebrew University, led a team of researchers who studied more than 3,000 existing drugs to see if they could be effective against Covid-19.
They put them in contact with live SARS-CoV-2 cells and human cells in vitro. Bingo! Three drugs were found to be particularly effective in vitro (in a test tube). These were a drug used to treat hypertension (name withheld), atherosclerosis (darapladib) and cancer (flumatinib).

The results “showed that the drugs can protect cells from the virus attack with close to 100 percent efficacy, meaning that almost 100 percent of the cells survived despite the virus infection,” Professor Isaiah Arkin told The Times of Israel. These could be active against all variants.

Three diseases cited by Dr JM Sabatier

The particularity of this study is that many researchers have focused on the Spike protein of the virus, which is characteristically spiky and allows it to infect cells. In Prof. Arkin’s work, the virus’ envelope protein appears to be targeted; it varies very little from one variant to another. In other words, these drugs could be effective regardless of the SARS-CoV-2 variants. It now remains to move on to the next phases of development in order to reach clinical trials.
For Dr. Jean-Marc Sabatier, the diseases (hypertension, atherosclerosis and cancer) treated by the three drugs identified by Prof. Arkin “have in common that they are linked to a dysfunction (over-activation) of the RAS (renin-angiotensin system). Remarkably, these three diseases were cited by Dr. Jean-Marc Sabatier and his collaborators (including both directors of the Wuhan State Virology Laboratory in China) in a scientific paper accepted in March 2020 and published in April (1) as Covid-19 diseases (known or anticipated) resulting from RAS dysfunction induced by SARS-CoV-2. This further highlights the anti-Covid-19 potential of RAS inhibitors (such as vitamin D, dexamethasone, thymoquinone, ARBs = AT1R antagonists, ACE inhibitors …)”.

(1) ‘SARS-CoV-2 & Covid-19: key-roles of the renin-angiotensin system / vitamin D impacting drug and vaccine developments’
Zhijian Cao, Yingliang Wu, Emmanuelle Faucon, Jean-Marc Sabatier
Infect. Disord. Drug Targets. 2020;20(3):348-349.
doi: 10.2174/1871526520999200505174704.

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