Researchers at the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) have said that two drugs designed for treating Gaucher's disease were effective against coronavirus disease and could act as a broad-spectrum antiviral therapy for COVID-19.

IIBR tested the drugs on cell cultures and found they can serve as antiviral therapeutic targets against SARS-CoV-2. For this they examined analogues of Cerdelga and Remdesivir drugs.

Cerdelga is already approved by the FDA, while Remdesivir is only approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to treat COVID-19. Even a single dose was able to inhibit viral replication within 24 to 48 hours, according to the study published in the preprint bioRxiv, which is yet to be peer-reviewed.

drugs
Representational Picture Pikrepo

Decreased Viral Replication

After treating patients with these drugs, scientists found it led to a significant reduction in the replication capacity of novel coronavirus, which also led to the destruction of the infected cell. As viral replication decreases, it prevents further cell damage after infection.

"Infection with SARS-CoV-2 reduced cell viability to 40% in the untreated cell," the IIBR report said. When Cerdelga and Remdesivir was given, cell viability was increased to between 75 percent and 100 percent, after which the researchers wrote in the paper that they "have an antiviral effect on the SARS-CoV-2 clinical isolate in vitro."

Tested on Other Viruses

SARS-CoV-2
SARS-CoV-2 Pixabay

Similar results were found when they tested these drug analogues on Influenza A, West Nile fever and Sindbis viruses. "This indicates their potential in treating various viral diseases effectively – including future outbreaks of new viruses – once they are clinically approved," said the research report by the Defense Ministry.

Currently, scientists are testing these drugs on animals to find out if they get the same result. In that case, the treatment for COVID-19 could be readily available since the drug Cerdelga is already tested and studied clinically, it can be fast-tracked for public use.

IIBR has also filed patent requests for eight coronavirus antibodies isolated by the institute. At the same time, the institute reported previously that it successfully completed its coronavirus vaccine experiments on rodents and is about to start trials on animals.