London, October 31 (IANS): In the ongoing fight against the new Coronavirus, researchers have now identified a drug with the potential to provide treatment for Covid-19 almost a year after it became a pandemic.
The study, published in the journal Cells, found that the approved protease inhibitor, aprotinin, exhibited activity against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, in concentrations that are reached in patients.
According to the researchers, aprotinin aerosols are approved in Russia for the treatment of influenza and can be readily tested for the treatment of Covid-19.
Aprotinin inhibits the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells and can compensate for the loss of host cell protease inhibitors that are down-regulated after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“Aprotinin aerosol has been reported to be extremely well tolerated in patients with influenza. Therefore, it may have a particular potential to prevent severe Covid-19 disease when applied shortly after diagnosis,” said study author Martin Michaelis, from Kent University, UK.
“Aprotinin has already been shown to inhibit the TMPRSS2 gene and has been suggested as a treatment option for influenza and coronavirus viruses. Here, we investigate the effects of aprotinin against SARS-CoV-2,” added Michaelis.
The results showed that aprotinin exhibited anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in different cell types (Caco2, Calu-3 and air-liquid interface cultures of primary bronchial epithelial cells) and against four virus isolates.
“An approved aprotinin aerosol may have the potential for early local control of SARS-CoV-2 replication and preventing Covid-19 progression to severe systemic disease,” the study authors noted.