Researchers Say Vacuolin-1 Could Cure COVID-19 With Fewer Side Effects
With every passing day, we keep on hearing about new vaccines in development to strengthen our fight against the novel coronavirus. However, it isn’t just the vaccines that are going to help us save lives in this pandemic.
Today, we also have several researchers looking at existing medicines that could work to fight COVID-19 symptoms. Drugs like Remdesivir and Dexamethasone are already helping in healing existing COVID-19 patients. And looks like researchers have got their hands on another potential cure for COVID-19 with vacuolin-1 and apilimod.?
This is according to research published in PNAS. Vacuolin-1 and apilimod are essentially the same drugs. The drug was first discovered by Tomas Kirchhuaused, professor of cell biology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS and professor of paediatrics at Boston Children’s, around 16 years ago.?
How this drug works against COVID-19?
This drug has also been tested to show successful results in blocking the Ebola virus and when COVID-19 surfaced, researchers saw that the way COVID-19 enters the cell is not very different from Ebola.?
Vacuolin-1 and apilimod are known to target an enzyme called PIKfyve kinase. This enzyme has a major role in the way COVID-19 infections work.?
According to Kirchhausen “Our findings show that targeting this kinase through a small-molecule antiviral against SARS-CoV-2 may be an effective strategy to lessen the progression or seriousness of COVID-19. Within a week, we knew apilimod worked extremely well in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection in human cells in the lab. We found that like apilimod, vacuolin-1 is a very strong inhibitor for viral infection in the lab.”
Studies have shown positive results?
Alternatively, a paper published in the renowned journal Nature showed a list of 12,000 clinical-stage FDA approved small molecules that could inhibit replication of the novel coronavirus and apilimod was one of them.
AI Therapeutics had tested apilimod in Phase I and II trials for the treatment of autoimmune conditions but it didn’t show any efficacy. However, tests did confirm the fact that the compound didn’t produce any grave side effects even after consuming high doses for nearly a year.?
The company received FDA approval to see if it can reduce the severe nature of COVID-19 post which AI Therapeutics announced the launch of randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study with apilimod in July. The drug will be tested on 140 COVID-19 patients where it will look to assess the safety and tolerability as well as efficacy in reducing viral impact in patients.?
Disclaimer: While there have been several different types of treatments being given to COVID-19 patients across the world, there isn’t any one drug that has worked as a sure-shot treatment yet. Don’t self medicate and always consult your doctor or medical health professional for any symptoms.??