A team of researchers has found that three commonly used antiviral and antimalarial drugs are effective at preventing reproduction of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The researchers were looking for compounds that could block the entry of the virus into the cell.
The study looked at three antiviral drugs that have been effective against Ebola and the Marburg virus: tilorone, quinacrine, and pyronaridine. They chose these compounds because the researchers knew that other antivirals which successfully act against Ebola are also effective inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers utilized a variety of cell lines that represented potential targets for SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human body. They infected the cell lines with the different viruses and then looked at how well the compounds prevented viral replication in the cells.
The team found that the results were mixed, with the compounds’ effectiveness depending upon whether they were used in human-derived cell lines or monkey-derived cell lines, known as ‘Vero cell lines’.
“In the human-derived cell lines, we found that all three compounds worked similarly to Remdesivir, which is currently being used to treat COVID-19,” the researchers said.
The next steps for the research include testing the compounds’ effectiveness in a mouse model and working on understanding how they inhibit viral replication.