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Researchers find drug that is 27.5 times more potent than remdesivir against Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 27, 2021

Plitidepsin, the drug, led to significant reduction of viral replication in Covid-19-infected mice; plitidepsin is a chemical compound extracted from ascidian Aplidium albicans, an exotic marine creature found off the coast of Ibiza, Spain

Researchers in the United States and France have found a drug that has more potential to treat coronavirus than remdesivir.

According to a peer-reviewed study published in the Science journal, a drug called plitidepsin is 27.5 times more potent than remdesivir.

The study was conducted by scientists in New York, San Francisco, and Paris. It demonstrated the in vivo efficacy of plitidepsin in two mice infected with SARS-CoV-2. The drug led to a significant reduction of viral replication in the mice.

The study concluded that plitidepsin had “potent preclinical efficacy” against SARS-CoV-2.

Plitidepsin is a chemical compound extracted from ascidian Aplidium albicans, which is an exotic marine creature found off the coast of Ibiza, Spain.

Plitidepsin, commonly known as Aplidin, is owned by Pharma Mar, a Spanish pharmaceutical company. Australia has given a green signal to the use of this drug as it has been able to treat multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells). However, the drug is not accessible to most parts of the world.

“We believe that our data and the initial positive results from PharmaMar’s clinical trial suggests that plitidepsin should be strongly considered for expanded clinical trials for the treatment of Covid-19,” the study noted.

It added that dexamethasone, which was “the most well established and effective steroid for the treatment of Covid-19”, was also used for the treatment of myeloma. Hence, this proves that plitidepsin has an “established safety profile”, the researchers stated.

The researchers further noted that this should “allow for clinicians to treat with both drugs if warranted.”

Last year, remdesivir created a stir in the researchers’ community for its anti-Covid-19 properties. However, interim results by WHO’s Solidarity trial stated that remdesivir “appeared to have little or no effect on hospitalised Covid-19 patients, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay.”

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Published on January 27, 2021
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