June 13, 2021 ~ TrialSite News
Japanese-Led Team’s Preclinical Research Indicate Huge Potential for the Repurposed Drug Combo of Cepharanthine/Nelfinavir to Destroy COVID-19
A team of researchers from Japan, America, and the United Kingdom recently launched a study to develop therapeutics attacking SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, in a bid to provide compelling and comprehensive treatment, supporting vaccination as well. In searching for what could be hopefully a cure for COVID-19 someday, a diverse team including esteemed investigators from the Tokyo University of Science sought first to introduce an experimental system for screening drugs that could be used to help control SARS-CoV-2 infections. The team used VeroE6/TMPRSS2 cells as a platform for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and hence COVID-19 infection. Could the introduction of various existing approved drugs in this discovery platform hinder the novel coronavirus’ efforts to infect the underlying platform’s cells, asked Visiting Professor Koichi Watashi. With the goal of repurposing existing approved drugs, these researchers introduced a selection of them to this experimental system for screening. In an exciting outcome, they found two drugs that provide effective SARS-CoV-2 suppression including cepharanthine, used to treat inflammation, and nelfinavir, which is approved as a treatment of HIV infection.
The recent results of this effort were published in a paper titled “Potential anti-COVID-19 agents, cepharanthine and nelfinavir, and their usage for combination treatment” published in the journal iScience. This work was supported by the Japanese Agency for Medical Research and Development, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Japan Science and Technology Agency, and the Wellcome Trust.