Science

Researchers identify a drug that can treat Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 20, 2020 Published on September 20, 2020

Researchers have found a drug that could be repurposed to treat or prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Researchers mentioned in their study published in the journal Cytokine and Growth Factors Review that 4-Phenylbutiric acid (4-PBA) can avert mortality caused by respiratory failure due to cellular stress.

The preliminary test of the drug, which was conducted on animal models, also showed promising results.

Taming the Cytokine storm

Researchers believe that through this drug, they can tame the cytokine “storm.”

In some cases of the coronavirus, people tend to develop inflammation because of the overly activated immune responses that create cytokine storms. This can lead to vascular hyperpermeability and multi-organ failure.

One of the lead researchers Ivan Duran, Professor at the University of Malaga in Spain said in the study: "When cells are stressed by infection, they call the cytokines, and the more stressed they are, the more persistent they become, provoking this uncontrolled inflammation. Hence, one possible treatment for Covid-19 is to reduce cellular stress."

Duran stated that repurposing the 4-PBA anti-stress drug could modulate such cellular stress, which is also present in pathologies like diabetes, aging, or carcinogenesis, which, in turn, are classified as risk factors for SARS-CoV-2.

The drug has already secured approval for clinical use against other diseases and, hence, easy to apply clinically.

The study also identified the endoplasmic reticulum resident protein "BiP" (Binding Immunoglobulin Protein) - a stress blood marker -- as an indicator of cellular stress situations, likely to be explored and measured in affected patients.

This way, BiP levels, apart from determining the efficacy of 4-PBA treatment, could serve as early indicators of Covid-19 risk groups, establishing a correlation between high levels and the inflammatory severity after the viral infection, Duran noted.

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Published on September 20, 2020
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