Add news
Ichigo Tanuki x Angels - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (ABBA cover)
Russian.city
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021May 2021June 2021
123456789101112131415161718
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
News Every Day |

Seeking a pill to cure COVID: drugmakers eye alternative to vaccines



Prevention is better than cure -- but when it comes to Covid, what happens when people can't get the vaccine, don't want it, or they're immune suppressed and it fails to stop infection?

The hunt is on for a coronavirus treatment that can be taken as a pill soon after a confirmed positive, halting the disease in its tracks so that cases that might have been severe end up being nothing more than a bad cold.

Several companies are working on so-called oral antivirals, which would mimic what the drug Tamiflu does for influenza.

"It's great that we have vaccine rollout that has been significant, but it certainly will not be taken by everybody in our population, and not everybody who takes the vaccine will have a full response to it," David Hirschwerk, an infectious diseases physician at Northwell Health in New York told AFP.

An easily storable and transportable pill would also offer practical advantages over existing treatments such as monoclonal antibodies, which are mainly injected by drips at hospital infusion centers.

  • Promising results -

One of the frontrunners in these efforts is a twice-a-day drug called Molnupiravir, which is being developed by Merck in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Early results from a Phase 2 trial showed that, among dozens of volunteers who tested positive at the start, none of those who received the drug had any detectable virus by day five; while a quarter of those who received a placebo did.

The numbers are promising but too small to draw firm conclusions from, and the company is now enrolling for a Phase 3 trial involving 1,850 people with results expected by fall.

"Viruses are basically little machines and they need certain components to replicate themselves," Merck's chief scientific officer Daria Hazuda told AFP. Antivirals are designed to interfere with that process.

Molnupiravir belongs to a class of antiviral called "polymerase inhibitors," which work by targeting an enzyme that viruses need to copy their genetic material, and introducing mutations that leave them unable to replicate.

Because antibodies target a surface protein of the coronavirus that is continually evolving, antivirals are expected to be more variant-proof.

Early use

Currently, there's just one antiviral approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Covid, which is Remdesivir by Gilead Sciences.

Like Molnupiravir, it is a polymerase inhibitor, though their precise actions differ.

Remdesivir's biggest disadvantage is that it was developed as an intravenous drug and targeted at hospitalized Covid patients, among whom it was shown to modestly reduce recovery time.

But by the time Covid has progressed to severe, much of the harm to patients' health comes from their own immune systems going into overdrive and damaging their organs, rather than viral replication.

That's why the focus now is on oral formulations that can be taken within days of infection, and apart from Merck, there are a few other notable entrants.

Roche and Atea have begun a 1,400 patient trial to study their own oral polymerase inhibitor, AT-527.

"This drug has so far been shown to be very potent in vitro," Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, founder and CEO of Atea told AFP.

"I think that after the pandemic, you're going to have a phase which is going to be endemic," he predicted, with the company hoping to file for authorization by the end of the year and launch the drug by 2022.

Curing the cold?

Pfizer, which has developed one of pandemic's foremost vaccines, is also attracting significant attention for its oral drug PF-07321332, which has begun Phase 1 human trials in healthy patients.

Its timeline is a little behind the others, because the medicine, which belongs to a class called "protease inhibitors," was designed specifically against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with work beginning in March 2020.

Protease enzymes act as molecular scissors that cut long protein chains into smaller pieces, that are then re-assembled as part of viral replication.

"Our investigational orally-administered protease inhibitor was designed to 'fit into' the protease (ie stick into the scissors) and 'block it' (i.e. keep the scissors from working)," Charlotte Allerton, head of medicine design for Pfizer, told AFP.

The company is hoping to expand to late stage studies by the middle of this year, she added.

All the drugmakers also plan to study their medicines for preventative use among close contacts of infected people.

The antivirals under development have demonstrated effectiveness in lab studies against other types of coronaviruses -- some of which cause serious diseases like SARS and MERs, while others cause the cold.

"If it is proven to be very safe and proven to be effective, then it can be used broadly, irrespective of the diagnosis, to treat and prevent multiple respiratory infections," said Hazuda of Merck's product.





Read also

Report: Holloway injured, out of Rodriguez fight

Marc Bergevin named a finalist for GM of the Year

Ex-police chief who stormed the Capitol used his tax-exempt charity to promote violence and spread conspiracy theories: feds





News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on Today24.pro



Today24.pro — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here
News Every Day

Old MacDonald Had a Farm and more Kids Songs and Nursery Rhymes from LooLoo Kids