This antiviral drug, studies suggest, could prevent carriers of the virus from developing severe symptoms and transmitting the disease, as well as containing local outbreaks in a single day.
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4 min read
This article has been translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.
The COVID-19 vaccine may mark the end of the pandemic, but while mass vaccination is not available, stopping community transmission is important. The new antiviral drug MK-4482 / EIDD-2801, or molnupiravir, managed to "completely" suppress the transmission of the coronavirus in just 24 hours, according to studies by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University.
"This is the first demonstration of an orally available drug that quickly blocks the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 so it could be a game changer," the researchers explained in the paper published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
The antiviral drug was developed at Emory University in Atlanta by the Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE), which was licensed from Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, which, in partnership with Merck & Co., molnupiravir was originally developed for the treatment of the flu and prevention of the virus Making copies of yourself, creating mistakes during viral RNA replication.
The experts explain that tests have been carried out on ferrets and that a reduction in the amount of virus particles was found. Then these ferrets were matched with others who had not been treated. None of the ferrets in the second group were infected with COVID-19.
"We believe ferrets are a relevant model of transmission because they easily spread SARS-CoV-2 but for the most part do not develop a serious disease very similar to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in young adults," he said. Dr. Robert Cox, postdoctoral fellow in the Plemper group and co-lead author of the study.
“We observed early on that MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 had a broad spectrum of activity against respiratory RNA viruses and that oral treatment of infected animals with the drug reduced the amount of virus particles that spread by several orders of magnitude and drastically reduced transmission. These properties made MK-4482 / EIDD / 2801 a strong candidate for pharmacological control of Covid-19, ”the report adds.
A promising antiviral that breaks the chain of transmission:
Therapeutic treatment of animals infected with MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 reduces the burden of SARS-CoV-2 on the upper airways and completely suppresses the spread in ferrets. https://t.co/WaMnNk6aao
– José Manuel Bautista (@ 1000genes) December 5, 2020
When this ferret-based data is transferred to humans, Covid-19 patients treated with the drug cannot become infectious within 24 hours of starting treatment.
The drug can be taken orally, and treatment can be started early for a triple potential benefit: inhibiting patient progression to serious illness, shortening the infection period to alleviate the emotional and socio-economic costs of prolonged patient isolation, and quickly contain local outbreaks.
Molnupiravir is currently in advanced phase II / III clinical trials. In patients with SARS-CoV-2, it is tested in three different doses every 12 hours for five days.