The scientists noted that the drug interferes with the virus' ability to replicate, and may help end infection.
They said the drug is an inhibitor of some of the body's protease molecules, which are key to many body functions, and are common targets for drugs to treat "everything from high blood pressure to cancer and HIV."
According to the scientists, the drug was first studied following the 2002-03 SARS pandemic, following which the protease inhibitor was further developed by veterinary researchers who showed it cures a disease that is fatal in cats.
"We determined the three-dimensional shape of the protease with the drug in the active site pocket, showing the mechanism of inhibition. This will allow us to develop even more effective drugs," Lemieux said.
The scientists said they plan to test modifications of the drug to make it an even better fit inside the virus.
But, according to Lemieux, the current drug shows enough antiviral action against SARS-CoV-2 to proceed immediately to clinical trials.
"Typically for a drug to go into clinical trials, it has to be confirmed in the lab and then tested in animal models," Lemieux said.
"Because this drug has already been used to treat cats with coronavirus, and it's effective with little to no toxicity, it's already passed those stages and this allows us to move forward," she added.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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