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New drug combination found effective against COVID-19 infection: Study

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A new drug combination can suppress infection by the S-CoV-2 virus, says a study (Representational)

London:

A new drug combination can suppress infection by the S-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, according to a study conducted in animals and cell cultures.

Preliminary trial results published in the journal Viruses found that combined use of the antiviral drugs nefamostat and Pegasys met all availability and efficacy requirements.

“This combination effectively suppresses infection,” said Professor Denis Canov from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

The researchers said the experiments were conducted in cell cultures and in hamsters.

He noted that this doesn’t mean the combination works in humans, but could be a hot tip for researchers who are already testing nafamostat in the fight against COVID-19.

According to the researchers nafamostat is already in use as a monotherapy against COVID-19 and is being extensively tested in Japan, among other places.

Pegasys is currently used primarily to treat hepatitis C. Combining the two has a positive effect, he said.

“Both drugs attack a factor in our cells called TMPRSS2, which plays an important role in viral replication,” said NTNU Professor Magnar Bjores.

The researchers noted that only low doses of the combination drug are needed.

“Combining lower doses of drugs can have many clinical benefits. This includes fewer adverse events and better outcomes for patients,” said NTNU Doctoral Research Fellow Aleksandr Inevsky.

Researchers believe the combination drug could save lives and make life easier for patients.

He noted that Nafamostat is relatively cheap, while the downside of Pegasys is its high cost.

“S-CoV-2 and its vaccine/immune-escaping variants remain a serious threat to public health due to the lack of effective, rapidly deployable and widely available therapies,” the study authors said.

“Our study may provide a proactive solution to the ongoing pandemic and potential future coronavirus outbreaks, which are still urgently needed in many parts of the world,” he said.

In addition to NTNU, other researchers in the study are from Oslo University Hospital, the University of Oslo in Norway, the French precision medicine company Oncodesign, the University of Tartu in Estonia and the University of Helsinki in Finland.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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