Mining the world's most comprehensive drug repurposing collection for COVID-19 therapies, scientists have identified 90 existing drugs or drug candidates with antiviral activity against the coronavirus that's driving the ongoing global pandemic. Among those compounds, the Scripps Research study identified four clinically approved drugs and nine compounds in other stages of development with strong potential to be repurposed as oral drugs for COVID-19, according to results published online on June 3, 2021 in Nature Communications. The open-access article is titled “Drug Repurposing Screens Identify Chemical Entities for the Development of COVID-19 Interventions.” Of the drugs that prevented the coronavirus from replicating in human cells, 19 were found to work in concert with or boost the activity of remdesivir, an antiviral therapy approved for treatment of COVID-19. "While we now have effective vaccines against COVID-19, we still lack highly effective antiviral drugs that can prevent COVID-19 infections or stop them from worsening," says Peter Schultz, PhD, President and CEO of Scripps Research and a co-author of the published article. "Our results raise the possibility of a number of promising avenues for repurposing existing oral medications with efficacy against SARS-CoV-2," he adds. "We have identified promising existing drugs and are also leveraging our findings to develop optimized antivirals that will be more effective against SARS-CoV-2, including variants and drug-resistant strains, as well as against other coronaviruses that currently exist or might emerge in future."
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