Using a new research model containing human lung tissue, scientists at the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill showed that the broad spectrum, experimental drug EIDD-2801 proved effective at preventing and treating SARS-CoV-2 infection. Publishing their work online on February 9, 2021 in Nature, scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health found that the orally administered experimental drug EIDD-2801 halts SARS-CoV-2 replication and prevents infection of human cells in a new in vivo lab model containing human lung tissue. The Nature article is titled “SARS-CoV-2 Infection Is Effectively Treated and Prevented by EIDD-2801.” Separate phase 2 and 3 clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate EIDD-2801 safety in humans and its effect on viral shedding in COVID-19 patients. The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise in many parts of the world, with the highest incidence in the United States. Although some highly efficacious vaccines have been authorized for emergency use, it may take considerable time to reach target vaccination levels needed for herd immunity due to the logistics of vaccine manufacturing, shipping, storage, and distribution as well as public acceptance. Also, SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged which appear to have increased transmissibility and have added more challenges to ensure vaccine viability. Therefore, alternative treatments and preventive approaches that can be widely and rapidly implemented are urgently needed to curb the risk for COVID-19-related hospitalization and death in multiple settings including nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
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