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Worldwide, 153 drugs and vaccines are tested in patients with Covid-19

Publicado em 10 junho 2020

A survey carried out in main databases on clinical trials in the world reveals that 153 drugs and vaccines are being tested in 1,765 studies with patients with Covid-19. Research related to the search for drugs and vaccines against coronavirus will be the theme of the webinar “Healthy vectors: Drug and Vaccine Development for Covid-19 and the Health Challenges in Brazil”, carried out this Wednesday, 10, by the University of São Paulo (USP) and the Academy of Sciences of the State of São Paulo (Aciesp). The information is from Fapesp Agency.

The event will have as exhibitors the doctor Drauzio Varella; researcher Adriano D. Andricopulo, from USP’s São Carlos Physics Institute (IFSC) and executive director of Aciesp; and Dimas Covas, director of the Butantan Institute and researcher at the Cell Therapy Center, a Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center (CEPID) supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp) at the Ribeirão Preto Medical School ( FMRP-USP).

At the opening of webinar, will be Sylvio Canuto, Dean of Research at USP; Vanderlan Bolzani, professor at the Chemistry Institute at Universidade Estadual Paulista (IQ-Unesp) and president of Aciesp and Guilherme Ary Plonski, director of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IEA) at USP. The debate will be mediated by journalist Herton Escobar.

Andricopulo, responsible for the survey, cites the different types of substances that have been tested to fight the virus. “A careful analysis of the 1,765 ongoing studies revealed some surprises and curiosities. Among the 153 chemicals registered in clinical tests, there are antivirals, antiparasitic drugs and drugs developed for different conditions ”, he says.

In addition to ongoing tests, the global effort to combat the coronavirus also involves actions such as understanding the molecular mechanisms of infection, the development of vaccines and the generation of epidemiological data on the pandemic, for example.

Data base

For the survey done, data from the four main online databases of clinical studies in the world were analyzed: Clinical Trials, maintained by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States (1,001 records); EU Clinical Trials Register, from the European Union (51 registrations); ISRCTN, which follows guidelines from the International Clinical Trials Registration Platform (ICTRP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors ICMJE (39 records), and the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry, of China (674 records). Studies from Brazil and other continents are recorded on some of these bases.

Andricopulo is a researcher and technology transfer coordinator at the Center for Research and Innovation in Biodiversity and Pharmaceuticals (CIBFar), a CEPID supported by Fapesp at IFSC-USP. The center is currently looking for potential antivirals for the treatment of Covid-19 among synthetic compounds and natural products from Brazilian biodiversity, in addition to conducting studies aimed at repositioning existing drugs.

Drugs under test

Through the methodology known as drug repositioning, molecules that are already approved for other diseases or that are in an advanced phase of clinical tests are tested. Therefore, among the 153 molecules being evaluated for Covid-19, there is a great diversity of therapeutic classes. Antivirals appear in the lead, with 26 candidates. Another 18 are anticancer drugs, 14 immunosuppressants, 13 antihypertensive drugs, 12 antiparasitic drugs and 12 anti-inflammatory drugs.

Among the other 58 candidates are various antibiotics, antiulcer, anticoagulants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, vasodilators, antidiabetics, corticosteroids and cholesterol-lowering agents.

One of the most promising so far is the antiviral remdesivir, originally developed to combat the Ebola virus. The drug, however, has the disadvantage that it can only be administered in an injectable form. For this reason, two other molecules have stood out as alternatives superior to it.

EIDD-2801 attacks the same viral enzyme as remdesivir, but it can be administered orally, in tablets. In addition, the tests carried out so far show that it can be more effective against the mutant forms of the virus, preventing the creation of resistance to the drug. Another similar and simpler molecule, EIDD-1931, hinders the process of transcribing the virus’s genetic material, leading to interruption of replication.

The researcher points out, however, that there is no vaccine or specific drug approved for Covid-19 and that, therefore, the survey turns on a warning signal. “We are still a long way from achieving a treatment with 100% effectiveness and it is unlikely to happen in the short term. And the low efficacy of drugs in clinical research suggests that the treatment of covid-19 should be done with a combination of drugs, according to the assessment of the condition and conditions of each patient ”, he says.


Webinar “Healthy vectors: Development of Medicines and Vaccines for Covid-19 and the Health Challenges in Brazil”

When: Wednesday, June 10, 2020, from 4 pm

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