COVID-19 treatment: Hepatitis C drugs may enhance remdesivir

COVID-19 treatment: Hepatitis C drugs may enhance remdesivir

Written by Erika Watts on May 4, 2021 — Fact checked by Ferdinand Lali, Ph.D.
Share on PinterestA recent study tests combinations of drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. Himanshu Vyas/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

  • Although vaccines are now available for most of the world, a more successful treatment for COVID-19 is still necessary.
  • Researchers believe that a combination of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antiviral medications could help people with SARS-CoV-2 infections.
  • They combined the drug remdesivir, which is effective against Ebola, with drugs that can treat hepatitis C.

With worldwide COVID-19 cases on the rise again, the race to find an effective treatment for the disease continues.

Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, NY, believe that a combination of drugs already approved for use in the United States could be the key in treating COVID-19.

Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.

The researchers combined remdesivir, which doctors already prescribe to hospitalized patients with COVID-19, with different hepatitis C virus (HCV) medications. They hoped to identify a combination that slows viral replication.

“Here we see a promising synergy that, if confirmed through additional research and clinical trials, could provide a new antiviral to combat COVID-19,” says Dr. Gaetano Montelione, Ph.D., a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.

COVID-19 background 

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic in March 2020, nearly 150 million people have contracted the virus, and approximately 3 million have died.

Over the past year, researchers have investigated numerous drugs and therapies to help treat COVID-19.

Remdesivir, for example, can treat COVID-19 in an inpatient setting. According to one article, remdesivir can “target specific viral enzymes or attack a weak point of viral replication within the host.”

Certain corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone, can reduce inflammation in people with COVID-19.

Researchers also considered using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Doctors use hydroxychloroquine to treat malaria and rheumatoid arthritis, but further research showed that it did more harm than good in people with COVID-19.

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