A new report has suggested that antiviral drugs developed to treat hepatitis C may also be effective against the coronavirus disease.
The scientists examined over 6,000 drugs that have a history of safe use in humans to see if any of them could block an important protein in the life cycle of the virus called the main protease.
The study leader, Brian Kraemer, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, told Reuters, ‘’The most potent of these were approved drugs for treating hepatitis C.’’
He singled out boceprevir and narlaprevir, protease inhibitors developed by Merck and Co that have been superseded by more effective hepatitis C treatments.
The researchers said that if the effects of these drugs against the coronavirus disease are confirmed in clinical trials, they would likely be given as part of a combination therapy to employ more than one line of attack against the virus.
In their report, the researchers pointed out that the advantage of finding potent treatments among approved drugs is that they can be advanced rapidly to clinical trials without extensive multi-year preclinical development efforts.
In another new report, researchers revealed that the coronavirus disease may spread through high-rise apartment buildings through plumbing pipes.
On Tuesday, researchers in Annals of Internal Medicine said that coronavirus in the bodily waste matter or excretory product flushed by an ill resident may have spread upward through aerosols in the drainage pipe system in a building in Guangzhou, China, causing Covid-19 infections in 3 families living on higher floors.
Last month, in the Environment International journal, a separate team reported data showing possible aerosol transmission of the novel coronavirus through rising vapours in high-rise plumbing in China.
However, the report did not prove that transmission through plumbing caused infections and suggested ways to prevent possible infection. The report suggested that a U-shaped water drainage traps under sinks, tubs and showers should not be allowed to dry out in order to block the transmission through faecal aerosol.