COVID-19: Chloroquine Offers Hope for Cure

COVID-19: Chloroquine Offers Hope for Cure

The fight against Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) seems to be getting to its end with humans claiming conquest. Two drugs that have been on trial appear to offer hope for a cure based on how patients respond to the treatment. Chloroquine phosphate is leading the way in offering recovery hope to victims according to trials conducted so far.

Chinese experts have confirmed based on clinical trial results, that chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, surprisingly bears subduing effect on coronavirus. Chloroquine which has been in use for over 70 years now was selected among many other drugs tried on patients due to its promising effects.

Sun Yanrong, deputy head of the China National Center for Biotechnology Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) said the progress recorded in the trials suggested that the drug will be included in the next version of the treatment guidelines and applied in wider clinical trials as soon as possible.

“In the trials, the groups of patients who were treated with chloroquine had better recovery rate compared to others who were placed on other drugs. In abatement of fever, improvement of CT images of lungs, the percentage of patients who became negative in viral nucleic acid tests and the time they need to do so, chloroquine showed better indicators,” she said.

Sun explained that the drug has been in clinical trials in over 10 hospitals in Beijing, as well as in South China’s Guangdong province and Central China’s Hunan province, and it showed the same efficient results.

On February 15, Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory specialist and a renowned figure of the Chinese academy of engineering, led a team of experts on a video conference. Prominent medical departments of health in china, including National Health Commission and the National Medical Products Administration deliberated on the effectiveness of various drugs on clinical trial and agreed to use chloroquine phosphate in treating COVID-19 patients.

Chloroquine blocks viral infections by increasing endosomal pH required for virus/cell fusion, it also interferes with the glycosylation of cellular receptors of SARS-CoV10. Nature’s time-of-addition assay showed that chloroquine functioned at both entry and post-entry stages of the 2019-nCoV infection in Vero E6 cells. Apart from its capacity to inhibit viral activities, chloroquine offers immune-modulating activity, which may synergistically enhance its antiviral activity in vivo. Chloroquine circulates widely in the whole body, touching the lungs, which makes it effective even after oral administration.

So far, two drugs have shown efficacy against COVID-19. Remdesivir has been as promising as it was in the past cases against a wide array of viral infections, including SARS and MERS and by extension, Ebola.

According to the scientific magazine Nature, Remdesivir is an adenosine analogue, which incorporates into nascent viral RNA chains and results in premature termination. The clinical time-of-addition assay showed remdesivir functioned at a stage post virus entry which agrees with its putative anti-viral mechanism as a nucleotide analogue.

The data collected from Nature showed that  EC90 value of remdesivir against 2019-nCoV in Vero E6 cells was 1.76  ?M, which suggests that its working concentration is likely to be achieved in NHP. The supplementary data also showed that Remdesivir inhibited virus infection efficiently in a human cell line (human liver cancer Huh-7 cells), which is sensitive to COVID-19.

Coronavirus has already killed over 2,004 people around the world, but mainly in China where the disease started in December last year. About 75,000 people have been infected so far as the disease keeps spreading across borders. The Chinese government has been cooperating with other governments around the world in search of a cure.

Hope seems to be lying within for long while scientists research for a possible cure. The major obstacle to finding a cure has been the inability of researchers to figure out the source of the disease. While there is yet to be an approved cure for the viral infection, the two drugs offer remedy.

The scientific discovery reveals that chloroquine and remdesivir are highly effective in the control of CODIV-19. They have been recommended for administration on patients suffering from coronavirus disease.

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