Drug that can fight coronavirus (COVID-19) identified in UK
London : UK scientists have identified a drug that has the potential to prevent the coronavirus or fight against the consequences which may arouse due to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.
As per initial testing results on the animals, it has been found that the drug 4-Phenylbutiric acid (4-PBA) was fully positive in eliminating the mortality caused by respiratory failure derived from cellular stress.
The results have been published in the journal Cytokine and Growth Factors Review.
The inflammatory process identified in severe cases of coronavirus causes an uncontrolled and excessive release of cytokines -- molecules in charge of organising the body's defences- which could even trigger vascular hyperpermeability and multi-organ failure.
Taking control of such cytokines "storm" is the key behind the research.
"When cells are stressed by infection, they call the cytokines, and the more stressed they are, the more persistent they become, provoking this uncontrolled inflammation. Hence, one possible treatment for Covid-19 is to reduce cellular stress," explained one of the lead researchers Ivan Duran, Professor at University of Malaga in Spain.
According to the researcher, repurposing the 4-PBA anti-stress drug could modulate such cellular stress, which is also present in pathologies like diabetes, ageing or carcinogenesis, which, in turn, are classified as risk factors for Covid-19.
The drug has been approved for the clinical trials and the scientists are planning to get it tested on humans soon.
The study also identified the endoplasmic reticulum resident protein "BiP" (Binding Immunoglobulin Protein) - a stress blood marker -- as indicator of cellular stress situations, likely to be explored and measured in affected patients.
This way, BiP levels, apart from determining the efficacy of 4-PBA treatment, could serve as early indicators of Covid-19 risk groups, establishing a correlation between high levels and the inflammatory severity after the viral infection, Duran pointed out.