JERUSALEM, Israel – The Ministry of Defense-run Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) says two drugs designed to treat Gaucher’s disease could also be an effective treatment against COVID-19.
Gaucher’s disease is a genetic disorder that causes a fatty tissue to build up in certain organs, especially the liver and spleen. The fatty substances cause the organs to become enlarged and affect their function.
Researchers at the IIBR say two drugs used to treat Gaucher’s disease appear to inhibit viruses. The first drug is Cerdelga, which has already been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The second is Venglustat, which is in the process of being approved.
The scientists found that together, the drugs led to “a significant reduction in the replication capacity of the coronavirus and to the destruction of the infected cell,” the Defense Ministry Spokesperson said in a statement.
“The two drugs under development are currently being tested for their effectiveness in treating animals infected with the Coronavirus,” the spokesperson continued.
The treatment was also found to be effective against three other viruses, the West Nile virus, Influenza A virus, and the Neuroinvasive Sindbis virus.
“This indicates their potential in treating various viral diseases effectively — including future outbreaks of new viruses — once they are clinically approved,” the ministry wrote.
The researchers believe the drugs could be a temporary treatment for the coronavirus while scientists continue to work on a vaccine and treatment.
“Treatment of a new disease such as COVID-19 using an existing, approved drug may serve as an effective short-term solution considering that one of the major challenges in addressing such a pandemic is the length of time it takes for both the research and approval phases of new drugs,” the ministry said.
The IIBR has been heavily involved in COVID-10 research.
Earlier this month, it announced that it had discovered a specific antibody that neutralizes the coronavirus. The institute also claimed it has completed a successful coronavirus vaccine trial on rodents.
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