Fighting the new coronavirus, global scientific research institutions “army multi-path” search for effective drugs

The outbreak of new coronary pneumonia continues, and many scientific institutions around the world are working hard to find effective drugs to fight the virus. This search “army multi-way”, the existing drugs to step up screening, special-effects drug research and development around the clock, Chinese medicine to combat the unique effects of the virus has also been concerned.

Fighting the new coronavirus, global scientific research institutions "army multi-path" search for effective drugs

“Old medicine new” can be rescued

As a new type of virus, the scientific community is still very limited understanding of the new coronavirus, which to a large extent limited the development of targeted drugs. Screening broad-spectrum antiviral drugs, “old medicine new use” more promising to solve the urgent problem. World Health Organization Director-General Tandese believes that every effort must be made now to use existing “weapons” to fight the virus, while making long-term preparations.

Although it is “new”, it is still classified as a “coronavirus”. Therefore, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and other similar viruses effective antiviral drugs worth a try.

According to WHO on 20 February, two clinical trials are under way and preliminary results are expected within three weeks of the focus of the WHO’s new coronary pneumonia treatment programme. One of the therapies uses the anti-HIV drugs Lopinavir and Litonavir, and the other uses the antiviral drug redsievir.

Redsyway is a broad-spectrum antiviral drug developed by Gilead Technologies in the United States, primarily for the treatment of Ebola haemorrhagic fever and MERS. Previous studies have shown the drug’s effectiveness in coronaviruses, but clinical trials have not yet been completed and have not been approved for market. Based on the principle of “sympathetic medication”, U.S. researchers used redsieweve on a new coronavirus infection, and the patient’s symptoms improved significantly in a day or two, giving the drug a lot of attention.

The combination of Lopinavir and Litonavir is also a “new use of old medicines”. Previous studies have shown that the two ingredients can inhibit the SARS coronavirus alone, and that the co-use can produce synergies. However, a newly released study showed that the combination of the drug did not outperform the control group in improving the clinical symptoms of new coronavirus infection and speeding up the removal of the virus.

In addition, the malaria treatment drug chloroquine has entered the sixth version of the new coronary pneumonia treatment program issued by China’s National Health and Reform Commission, which is expected to further summarize the efficacy on the basis of more applications, antiviral drug pilave and other worthy of attention, the scientific research team is advancing animal experiments and clinical trials.

Special effects drug research and development “targeted”

Research and development of anti-new coronavirus special effects drugs, first of all, we need to recognize the “true face” of the new coronavirus. Therefore, pathogen research, genome sequencing and other preliminary work is very important. Within days of the discovery of the new coronavirus, Chinese researchers quickly shared the virus’s genetic sequence on to a public platform, allowing global scientific institutions to act in the first place against this “common enemy”.

A U.S. team has mapped for the first time the 3D structure of a key protein molecule for the new coronavirus that could be used as a key target for the development of therapeutic antibodies, drugs and vaccines, according to a virus genome sequence provided in China. For example, a new protein molecule or antibody that binds to the protein and inhibits its function can be designed accordingly. The team has sent atomic coordinate data for this structure to laboratories around the world.

From the research and development direction, the current global institutions have basically referred to SARS and MERS drug research and development strategies, including the development of targeted small molecule drugs, small interference RNA drugs and neutralizing antibodies. Some of these drugs work by inhibiting enzymes and viral surface proteins that inhibit the virus’s replication cycle, while others block the virus from entering host cells by boosting the host’s own immunity.

Special effects drug research and development is basically in the initial stage, to solve more problems, the required cycle is longer. However, some new technologies and platforms are expected to “accelerate” drug research and development. For example, research and development agencies have said they can use rapid screening techniques to find monoclonal antibodies and accelerate drug development for new coronaviruses.

Columbia University recently partnered with the Ma Yun Foundation to set up a special project for the research and development of new coronavirus drugs and antibodies, with renowned Chinese AIDS scientist He Dayi as the project leader. Project scientists will use four different methods to develop drugs or antibodies to stop the virus from replicating.

In any case, new drug development will not happen overnight. As The Deputy Secretary-General of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Academician Zhou Qi, said, we all look forward to the emergence of a new drug, but there are objective restrictions on the emergence of new drugs, there are time requirements. Scientific things can’t lower standards, and you have to follow the drug development process to get it done.

The effect of Chinese medicine is concerned

Xu Nanping, vice minister of science and technology, said recently that Chinese medicine has achieved positive results in blocking the development of light new coronary pneumonia patients to heavy-duty, and that the combination of Chinese and Western medicine treatment programs has been incorporated into the new coronary pneumonia diagnosis and treatment program, and is constantly improving.

Nigula Robinson, emeritus professor at Southbank University in London, recently published a paper with her Chinese counterparts on the application of Chinese medicine in the prevention and treatment of new coronary pneumonia. Traditional Chinese medicine, she argues, has shown some promise in treating new coronary pneumonia and is “really worth” investing resources in studying the role it can play, as there are very few “tools” available to fight new coronary pneumonia.

Many Chinese herbal medicines may be suitable for treating new coronary pneumonia, says Misha Cohen, a registered acupuncturist in San Francisco. There are some herbal remedies are often used for immune support, Chinese medicine called tonics, can nourish moisture, these prescriptions have different pharmacological effects, can be used to prevent infection. There are also some herbs that can detoxify heat and detoxify from the point of view of Western medicine, with specific antiviral and antibacterial effects.

Mark Frereal, a member of the French Academy of Chinese Medicine, believes that Chinese medicine can help to detoxify or excrete sputum, and that fever and coughing are two symptoms of viral pneumonia. However, any drug has side effects, and Chinese medicine is based on personalized treatment, so focus on strengthening research before promoting it.