As the Coronavirus vaccine is not expected in the near term, the focus has shifted to cocktail therapies. According to reports from Spain, the search for a viable COVID-19 therapy has led scientists to study many medicines for properties that could stop coronavirus from replicating inside the human body.
There is news that Xanax, the anti-anxiety treatment has become one of the prominent drugs selected for the trial. Alprazolam is used by millions of people and is known by the generic name of Xanax.
The researchers reportedly picked up seven molecules from more than 6,400 drugs for Corona treatment. Therapy protocols are in use in many parts of the world to save patients. Therapies using plasma transfusions and antibody-based drugs are part of that protocol.
In the Spanish compilation, scientists wanted medicines with specific characteristics that could paralyze the virus’s ability to replicate inside cells, and researchers shortlisted just 7 of the existing human and animal drugs for further testing.
The list has anxiety drug Alprazolam (Xanax) along with six other medicines. Researchers from universities around Barcelona researched existing drugs that could block the main protease (M-pro) of the virus, which has a key role in the replication process.
The coronavirus sticks to cells via ACE2 receptors and exhausts the cell while making replicas causing the cell’s death and new copies of the virus will infect nearby cells. The chain continues.
Stopping the virus from binding to cells can be done by monoclonal antibodies drugs, but ending the virus’s ability to replicate is crucial in making future therapies effective.
Researchers shortlisted 7 drugs that can inhibit the M-pro enzyme. They used a computational screening method to isolate the approved drugs for therapies.
Drugs that will act as inhibitors included Perampanel, Carprofen, Celecoxib, Alprazolam, Trovafloxacin, Sarafloxacin, and Ethyl biscoumacetate. Among them, Ethyl biscoumacetate is an anticoagulant.
COVID-19 leads to severe blood clotting strokes and heart attacks. Trovafloxacin and Sarafloxacin are antibiotics, and Perampanel is an anti-epileptic. Researchers are testing Carprofen and Celecoxib, both nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs.
The Spanish researchers shared the results with the international initiative COVID Moonshot. The results showed just 50 μM of Celecoxib or Carprofen can inhibit the in-vitro activity of M-pro by 11 and 4 percent respectively.
There is no proof Xanax might improve the condition of COVID-19 patients or prevent any severe outcome. Researchers expect Xanax to be highly interactive with some other COVID-19 therapies being tested.
Moderna claims Vaccine progress
Meanwhile, at the Corona vaccine front, there is some good news after Moderna announced that its potential COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 has been dosed to human participants and they will receive another dose after 28 days to determine its efficacy. The news gave an upshot to Moderna stock more than 10 percent last Friday.