Two drugs used to treat felines for a potentially fatal infection caused by other forms of the coronavirus may prove helpful in treating the novel coronavirus in humans, according to a new study. Researchers, publishing their findings in Nature, reported that medicines used to combat feline infectious peritonitis, a deadly cat disease, successfully inhibited the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in lab tests.
The drugs are called dipeptide-based protein inhibitors and named GC376 and GC373. They block the reproduction of the feline enteric coronavirus that causes peritonitis in cats. According to Fox News, the researchers said the cat drugs work by blocking an enzyme on the feline enteric coronavirus so it can’t reproduce and said they could do the same to fight the novel coronavirus in humans.
The researchers from the University of Alberta suggested that these drugs could be used to slow down or even halt the progression of the COVID-19 in humans, according to a press release about the study, because the virus that causes feline infectious peritonitis is very similar in structure to SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19.
“GC373 and GC376 are potent inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 replication in cell culture,” said the authors, according to Fox News. “They are strong drug candidates for the treatment of the human coronavirus infections because they have already been successful in animals.”
An application has already been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the approval of human clinical trials.
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