Oral drug revealed that can suppress transmission of coronavirus in 24 hours
A new antiviral drug, MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 or molnupiravir, has succeeded in suppressing coronavirus transmission "completely" in 24 hours, according to researchers from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University.
According to the researchers, whose work has been published in the journal 'Nature Microbiology', this is “the first demonstration of an orally available drug that rapidly blocks the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, so it could change the rules of the Covid game."
Disrupting widespread community transmission of the virus until mass vaccination is available, is critical to controlling Covid-19 and mitigating the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic.
Because the drug can be taken orally, treatment can be started early for a potential triple benefit: inhibiting the progress of patients to severe disease, shortening the infectious phase to alleviate the emotional and socioeconomic cost of prolonged isolation of the patient, and quickly controlling local outbreaks.
“We observed early on that MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 has broad spectrum activity against respiratory RNA viruses, and that oral treatment of infected animals with the drug reduces the amount of viral particles spread by several orders of magnitude, drastically reducing transmission. These properties made MK-4482 / EIDD / 2801 a powerful candidate for the pharmacological control of Covid-19”, experts have said.
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In the published study, the team repurposed MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 against SARS-CoV-2 and used ferrets to test the drug's effect in stopping the spread of the virus. "We believe that ferrets are a relevant transmission model because they easily spread SARS-CoV-2, but for the most part they do not develop a serious disease, which closely resembles the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in young adults," they said.
The researchers infected ferrets with SARS-CoV-2 and began treatment with MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 when the animals began spreading the virus through their noses. "When we shared the infected, and then treated the source animals with untreated contact ferrets in the same cage, none of the contacts became infected," said Josef Wolf, a doctoral student in Plemper's lab and co-lead author of the study. In comparison, all the contacts of the ferrets of origin that had received placebo were infected,” they have settled.