Coronavirus: Plan B 'should be implemented' says Dr Amir

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Researchers have identified a potential new treatment that suppresses the replication of coronavirus. To multiply, viruses like COVID-19, infect cells and reprogramme them to produce novel viruses. A new study found that cells infected with coronavirus can only produce when something known as their metabolic pentose phosphate pathway is activated.

When applying the drug benfooxythiamine, an inhibitor of this pathway, the virus was suppressed and infected cells did not produce coronaviruses.

The research was led by a team from the University of Kent’s School of Biosciences and the Institute of Medical Virology at Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main.

They found the drug also increased the antiviral activity of 2-deoxy-D-glucose – a drug that modifies the host cell’s metabolism to reduce virus multiplication.

This shows that pentose phosphate pathway inhibitors like benfooxythiamine are a potential new treatment option for COVID-19, both on their own and in combination with other treatments.

Therefore the drug differs from the likes of remdesivir and molnupiravir which have already been tipped as treatments for COVID-19.

Professor Martin Michaelis, from University of Kent, said: “This is a breakthrough in the research of COVID-19 treatment.

“Since resistance development is a big problem in the treatment of viral diseases, having therapies that use different targets is very important and provides further hope for developing the most effective treatments for COVID-19.”

Professor Jindrich Cinatl, from Goethe-University Frankfurt, added: “Targeting virus-induced changes in the host cell metabolism is an attractive way to interfere specifically with the virus replication process.”

Their study, ‘Targeting the pentose phosphate pathway for SARS-CoV-2 therapy,’ is published by the scientific journal Metabolites.

It comes after researchers discovered that a common, cheap antidepressant also lowers the risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19, according to their study.

The drug, fluvoxamine, has been prescribed to treat OCD for nearly 30 years.

But researchers started to investigate whether it could have other uses once the pandemic broke out.

This is because the drug can reduce inflammation and so experts hoped it could reduce the body’s risk of serious response to the infection.

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The results from the clinical trial showed it helps lower the likelihood of high-risk COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalisation or prolonged medical observation

It could result in a completely new set of COVID-19 guidelines across the world.

At a modest fee of only £3 pounds for a 10-day course, this could be revolutionary for poorer nations.

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