'This is a breakthrough': Researchers identify potential new drug treatment for COVID-19

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Oct 30, 2021, 12:41 AM(IST)

Representative Image: Coronavirus Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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As per researchers, the drug benfooxythiamine (BOT), an inhibitor of this metabolic pathway, suppressed the reproduction of SARS-CoV-2, and infected cells did not produce coronaviruses

The researchers from the University of Kent in the UK and Goethe-University in Germany have identified a potential new drug treatment that suppresses the reproduction of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

The researchers have stated that to multiply, all viruses infect cells and reprogramme them to produce novel viruses. The study, published recently in the journal Metabolites titled "Targeting the Pentose Phosphate Pathway for SARS-CoV-2 Therapy", shows that cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 can only produce novel coronaviruses when a metabolic pathway called pentose phosphate pathway is activated. 

As per researchers, the drug benfooxythiamine (BOT), an inhibitor of this metabolic pathway, suppressed the reproduction of SARS-CoV-2, and infected cells did not produce coronaviruses.

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A part of the study read: "Notably, metabolic drugs like BOT and 2DG may also interfere with COVID-19-associated immunopathology by modifying the metabolism of immune cells in addition to inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 replication. Hence, they may improve COVID-19 therapy outcomes by exerting antiviral and immunomodulatory effects."

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.

Additionally, Benfooxythiamin's antiviral mechanism differs from that of other COVID-19 drugs such as remdesivir and molnupiravir. Therefore, viruses resistant to these may be sensitive to benfooxythiamin.

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Professor Martin Michaelis, 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, Goethe-University Frankfurt, said: "Targeting virus-induced changes in the host cell metabolism is an attractive way to interfere specifically with the virus replication process." 

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