Researchers from National Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM) seek molecules capable of combating covid-19 among medicines that are already commercialized. They evaluated the approximately 2,000 approved drugs, known and sold in the country, of which five were considered promising and are still being tested with cells infected by the virus.
The analyzes will indicate whether these substances are able to bind to the virus and block its replication. The group uses advanced computational biology and artificial intelligence tools. According to the center, this pre-selection gathers drugs such as painkillers, antihypertensives, antibiotics, diuretics and others.
The center is part of the MCTIC Virus Network, an initiative promoted by Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC), which articulates the performance of research laboratories initially focused on coronavirus and influenza. The objective is to optimize the scientific knowledge produced in the country on this topic and to contribute so that it becomes practical results for society.
“In the face of the pandemic scenario, the search for molecules in drugs already authorized is strategic. When we look at substances that have already been evaluated as safe, we can reach clinical tests, with human patients, in a short period of time, compared to the normal drug discovery process ”, said virology specialist at the center Rafael Elias Marques.
Regarding the satisfactory effects that some drugs had in the treatment of covid-19, the center assesses that these results are relevant and can be enhanced by the work of researchers in Brazil. According to the agency, the most effective therapies to fight viral infections bring together more than one active compound to combat the frequent mutations of the virus.
“There is a need for a therapeutic arsenal, capable of inhibiting different viral targets, as occurs in the cocktail used against HIV. This strategy is being adopted by CNPEM researchers in research to combat covid-19 ”, informed the center.
The drug molecules available in pharmacies that show promise for interfering with the infection are selected and then tested in in vitro tests, so that their effectiveness in eliminating viral load is verified. Another effort by the center, according to the agency, is in determining the structure of the coronavirus proteins, which are still unknown forms, and also in the organization of the viral particle.