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Nine drugs found to reduce SARS-CoV-2 replication in respiratory cells. Pixabay

A team of researchers has identified nine potential new Covid-19 treatments, including three, that was already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatments of other diseases. The study, published in the journal Cell Reports, screened thousands of existing drugs and drug-like molecules for their ability to inhibit the replication of the Covid-19-causing coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Of the nine drugs found to reduce SARS-CoV-2 replication in respiratory cells, three already have FDA approval — the transplant-rejection drug cyclosporine, the cancer drug dacomitinib, and the antibiotic salinomycin. “Our discoveries here suggest new avenues for therapeutic interventions against Covid-19, and also underscore the importance of testing candidate drugs in respiratory cells,” said researcher Sara Cherry from the University of Pennsylvania.


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For the study, the researchers assembled a library of 3,059 compounds, including about 1,000 FDA-approved drugs and more than 2,000 drug-like molecules that have shown activity against defined biological targets. They then tested all of these for their ability to significantly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in infected cells, without causing much toxicity.


New avenues for therapeutic interventions against Covid-19. Pixabay

Initially, they performed antiviral screens using cell types that could grow easily in the lab and infect with SARS-CoV-2, namely African Green Monkey kidney cells, and a cell line derived from human liver cells. With these screens, they identified and validated several compounds that worked in the monkey kidney cells and 23 that worked in the human liver cells. Hydroxychloroquine, which is used as a malaria drug, and remdesivir, were effective in both cell types.

ALSO READ: Experts’ Advice: Be Careful of Fake Anti-Covid Drug Ads

Since SARS-CoV-2 is mainly a respiratory virus and is thought to initiate infections via airway-lining cells, the researchers sought a respiratory cell type that they could infect experimentally with the virus. They eventually identified a suitable cell line, Calu-3, that is derived from human airway-lining cells. They used these respiratory-derived cells to test the antiviral compounds identified through the human liver cell screen and found that only nine had activity in the new cells. The nine did not include hydroxychloroquine.

The nine antivirals active in respiratory cells did include salinomycin, a veterinary antibiotic that is also being investigated as an anticancer drug; the kinase enzyme inhibitor dacomitinib, an anticancer drug; bemcentinib, another kinase inhibitor now being tested against cancers; the antihistamine drug ebastine; and cyclosporine, an immune-suppressing drug commonly used to prevent the immune rejection of transplanted organs. (IANS/SP)


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Rihanna was summoned from her seat to accept the honour, with the Prime Minister.

Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."

Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.

The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)


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