Taiwanese researchers suggest new treatment for COVID-19: study | Focus Taiwan News Channel


Taipei, April 12 (CNA) Taiwanese researchers have found that combining two existing drugs with COVID-19 medication remdesivir could be effective in limiting the ability of the disease’s virus to replicate, Academia Sinica said Monday.

A research team led by Carmay Lim (林小喬) of Academia Sinica’s Institute of Biomedical Sciences and Hanna Yuan (袁小琀) of the Institute of Molecular Biology found that disulfiram, a drug to support chronic alcoholism treatment, and ebselen, a drug for depression and mania, can effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication when combined with remdesivir.

According to the team, disulfiram and ebselen have been available on the market for years and are relatively inexpensive, making them highly accessible, especially for less-affluent countries looking for a viable way to treat the disease.

The team was able to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cells, which are used as host cells for growing viruses, by using the three drugs in combination, but the findings still need to be tested in clinical trials, Lim said.

According to one of the researchers, Chen Ting (陳婷), remdesivir has been scientifically proven to inhibit the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but certain “nonstructural proteins” have enabled the virus to resist drugs like remdesivir as it replicates and evade immune responses.

Her team’s strategy was to target those proteins to prevent SARS-CoV-2 genome replication and to create a high barrier to viral resistance and/or evasion of antiviral drugs, and the team found that disulfiram and ebeselen were effective in this area.

The study was published last month by the publication ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science.

(By Chang Hsiung-feng and Joseph Yeh)