Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal and the University of Nebraska Medical Centre (UNMC) in the US have identified a drug that can be repurposed to treat . According to the team, 'Rapamycin' is currently being used for treating cancer patients and those who have undergone organ transplantation. Its analogues are commonly available in India and abroad. The research was published in a peer-reviewed paper recently in the reputed International Elsevier journal, Chemico Biological Interactions. The researchers showed that the biochemical working of this drug molecule points to its promise in the treatment of .
"The development of a new drug is time-consuming and cannot be relied on as a solution in combating the immediate pandemic. Drug repurposing is an attractive solution, wherein, an existing drug is used to treat another related or unrelated ailment may be tested against COVID-19 ," said Amjad Husain, Principal Scientist, and Chief Executive Officer, Innovation and Incubation Center for Entrepreneurship (IICE), IISER Bhopal.
"Since the repurposed drug has gone through the clinical development process for the treatment of other diseases and has already been tested for toxicity, many steps in preclinical and early clinical development can be avoided and the drug can be directly tested on COVID-19 subjects in phase-II trials," he added.
An example of such a repurposed drug is Remdesivir, which was originally developed to treat Hepatitis C infection. The drug has shown limited success in treating COVID-19 patients.