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Remdesivir and favipiravir could be useful in treating COVID-19

A new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has revealed that drug Remdesivir could be useful in treating the deadly COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus that is infecting tens of thousands of people across the world.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan city of Hubei Province in December 2019 and, since then, despite tight control measures, has spread to a large number of nations across the world with the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring it as a global emergency.

According to the authors of the study from the University of Alberta, the drug had previously been found to be effective against other similar viruses. The team, therefore, wanted to test the efficacy of Remdesivir against the new COVID-19 strain.

Remdesivir is a novel antiviral drug in the class of nucleotide analogs. It was developed in 2014 by Gilead Sciences as a treatment for Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus infections,  though it has subsequently also been found to show antiviral activity against other single-stranded RNA viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus, Junin virus, Lassa fever virus, Nipah virus, Hendra virus, and the coronaviruses (including MERS and SARS viruses).

Earlier this year, the drug has been trialed on a patient with coronavirus, the team said. This administration of the drug was in a patient infected with a virus in the United States. The patient received the drug on the seventh day after infection. The symptoms abated on the second day of the drug administration and soon there were no symptoms. The case report was published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Götte said, explaining how the drug works, "What our study showed was that remdesivir essentially mimics one of the natural building blocks for RNA synthesis necessary for genome replication of the virus. Enzymes within the virus are synthesizing the viral RNA genome with these building blocks, but they mix up the bits they need with the drug. Once the drug is incorporated into the growing RNA chain, the virus can no longer replicate."

In addition to remdesivir, favipiravir is also an effective treatment for new crown pneumonia. Huateng Pharmaceutical, a worldwide supplier of PEG derivatives, chemicals reagents and pharmaceutical API intermediatesArticle Search, can provide the intermediates of remdesivir and favipiravir.

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Dr. Ananya Mandal is a medical doctor, having achieved her MBBS degree in 2002 from Calcutta National Medical College & Hospital, followed by an MD in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics from The Institute of Post graduate Medical Education and Research, West Bengal.

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