The flu drug favipiravir has proven promise in stopping the coronavirus an infection in rodents when administered in excessive doses, says a research. Additional analysis should decide whether or not people can tolerate a excessive dose of favipiravir, favipiravir — a broad-spectrum antiviral drug utilized in Japan to deal with influenza — for 4 to 5 days.
“As a result of we administered the drug shortly earlier than exposing the hamsters to the virus, we may set up that the medication may also be used prophylactically, so in prevention,” mentioned Suzanne Kaptein from Rega Institute for Medical Analysis at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium.
“If additional analysis reveals that the outcomes are the identical in people, the drug could possibly be used proper after somebody from a high-risk group has come into contact with an contaminated individual. It might probably even be energetic in the course of the early levels of the illness.”
Basic preventive use might be not an possibility, nonetheless, as a result of it isn’t recognized whether or not long-term use, particularly at a excessive dose, has negative effects.
“Within the hamsters, we detected hardly any negative effects,” mentioned Leen Delang from KU Leuven.
The researchers used hamsters for the research because the rodents are significantly appropriate for SARS-CoV-2 analysis as a result of the virus replicates itself strongly in hamsters after an infection. Furthermore, hamsters develop a lung pathology much like delicate Covid-19 in people. This isn’t the case with mice, for instance.
For this research, revealed within the journal Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, the crew gave the hamsters both hydroxychloroquine or favipiravir for 4 to 5 days.
They examined a number of doses of favipiravir. The hamsters had been contaminated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in two methods: by inserting a excessive dose of virus immediately into their noses or by placing a wholesome hamster in a cage with an contaminated hamster.
Drug remedy was began one hour earlier than the direct an infection or someday earlier than the publicity to an contaminated hamster.
4 days after an infection or publicity, the researchers measured how a lot of the virus was current within the hamsters.
Therapy with hydroxychloroquine had no impression: the virus ranges didn’t lower and the hamsters had been nonetheless infectious.
“Regardless of the shortage of clear proof in animal fashions or medical research, many COVID-19 sufferers have already been handled with hydroxychloroquine,” defined Joana Rocha-Pereira from KU Leuven.
“Based mostly on these outcomes and the outcomes of different groups, we advise in opposition to additional exploring using hydroxychloroquine as a remedy in opposition to Covid-19.”
A excessive dose of favipiravir, nonetheless, had a potent impact. A number of days after the an infection, the virologists detected hardly any infectious virus particles within the hamsters that obtained this dose and that had been contaminated intranasally, mentioned the research.
Furthermore, hamsters that had been in a cage with an contaminated hamster and had been given the drug didn’t develop an apparent an infection.
People who had not obtained the drug all grew to become contaminated after having shared a cage with an contaminated hamster.
A low dose of the drug favipiravir didn’t have this end result.