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Scientists have discovered several drugs and even dietary supplements that help with COVID-19

In a new study by the University of Michigan, scientists have learned that several COVID-19 drug contenders are already being used for other purposes. Writes about it "New Time".

Photo: Shutterstock

Among these drugs, there is even one nutritional supplement that has been shown to block or reduce SARS-CoV2 infection in cells.

The scientists used image analysis of human cell lines when infected with COVID-19. The analysis was carried out using artificial intelligence. Cells were treated with more than 1400 drugs and compounds, before or after viral infection. As a result, scientists have selected 17 potential drug options for COVID-19.

Seven of these compounds have been found in previous drug repurposing studies, including remdesivir, which is one of the few FDA-approved drugs for treating COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. And here are 10 more, including one supplement, were noted by scientists for the first time.

“Traditionally, drug development takes decades, and we just don't have decades. The treatments we have discovered are well suited for Phase 2 clinical trials as they have been proven safe, ”said Jonathan Sexton, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan School of Medicine and one of the lead authors on the paper.

On the subject: In the United States, the third vaccination against COVID-19 will be injected: who needs it

The team tested 17 candidate compounds in multiple cell types, including stem cell-derived human lung cells, in an attempt to mimic SARS-CoV2 infection in the airways. Nine of these have shown antiviral activity at reasonable doses, including lactoferrin, a protein found in human breast milk. It is also sold as a dietary supplement derived from cow's milk.

“We found lactoferrin to be superior in preventing infections, performing better than anything we've seen,” Sexton said. He adds that early evidence suggests this effectiveness extends even to newer SARS-CoV2 variants, including the Delta variant.

The team will soon begin clinical trials of this compound to study its ability to lower viral load and inflammation in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection.

Notably, the study also identified a class of compounds called MEK inhibitors that are commonly prescribed to treat cancer that appear to worsen SARS-CoV2 infection. The find sheds light on how the virus spreads among cells.

“People undergoing chemotherapy are already at risk due to a reduced immune response. We need to find out if some of these drugs are making the disease worse, ”Sexton said.

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Earlier, the Australian-American research team reported "promising results" in their mouse trials of new drugs for COVID-19.

The technology is based on "short interfering RNA", which prevents the replication of the virus inside human cells.

The authors of the work from the Menzies Institute of Health at Griffith University found that the number of viral particles in the studied mice decreased by 99,9%. While the results are promising, the technology has only been tested in mice.

Researchers suggest that the drug can be administered to patients daily for up to five days, for example, sick in a hospital, or at a time if someone has just been exposed to the coronavirus; however, there is no concrete data on this yet.

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