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Covid-19 antiviral drug inspired by cats

CAPE TOWN – A team of scientists from the University of Alberta discovered a drug used for cats that showed antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2.

A recent study report published in Nature Communications shares the findings from a University of Alberta study which found a drug used to treat cats with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), another form of coronavirus, showed capabilities preventing SARS-CoV-2 from replicating in human cells.

Anvive, a pharmaceutical company that originally licensed the drug called GC376 in 2018, had the main purpose of fighting a life-threatening FIP disease which is often progressed from a separate strain of the coronavirus.

Multiple pre-clinical studies have been made to find the effects this drug may have in treating Covid-19 with the recent study from the University of Alberta suggesting urgent human trials are needing to take place as their findings show the GC376 is capable of inhibiting a protease called 3C.

3C protease plays an important role in promoting the replication in coronaviruses that infect animals and humans with the study discovering that GC376 was able to inhibit 3C protease in multiple coronavirus strains and therefore preventing a crucial role in virus replication.

The authors understood the vaccines against Covid-19 are advancing rapidly throughout the world but still suggest that antiviral drugs are quite necessary for the short-term goal as SARS-CoV-2 displays a rapid mutation rate and because the drug GC376 has been used to treat cats, it has already passed many preclinical stages which means advancing to human trials could happen swiftly.


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