New Delhi: A team of US and French scientists has identified a drug that is more effective in treating Covid-19 than remdesivir.
According to a peer-reviewed study, published in the Science journal Monday, a drug called plitidepsin is 27.5 times more potent than remdesivir.
The study, conducted by scientists in New York, San Francisco and Paris, demonstrated the in vivo efficacy of plitidepsin in two mice, infected with SARS-CoV-2. The drug led to significant reduction of viral replication in the mice.
In vivo studies refer to those performed on a living organism.
The study concluded that plitidepsin had “potent preclinical efficacy” against SARS-CoV-2.
Plitidepsin is a chemical compound extracted from ascidian Aplidium albicans, which is an exotic marine creature found off the coast in Ibiza, Spain.
Plitidepsin, commonly known as Aplidin, is owned by Pharma Mar, a Spanish pharmaceutical company. This drug has been approved in Australia since it has been able to treat multiple times myeloma (cancer of plasma cells).
This drug isn’t available for commercial use in most parts of the world and is currently undergoing trials for treatment of Covid-19 patients.
Plitidepsin has ‘established safety profile’
According to the researchers, plitidepsin should be considered for clinical trials based on their vivo study results.
“We believe that our data and the initial positive results from PharmaMar’s clinical trial suggests that plitidepsin should be strongly considered for expanded clinical trials for the treatment of Covid-19,” the study noted.
It added that dexamethasone, which was “the most well established and effective steroid for the treatment of Covid-19”, was also used for the treatment of myeloma.
Therefore, according to the researchers, this proves that plitidepsin has an “established safety profile”.
The study also suggested that this should “allow for clinicians to treat with both drugs if warranted.”
Several drugs and drug combinations are under study across the world as effective Covid therapies. Antiviral medicine remdesivir is one of the most closely watched drugs in the global clinical trials against SARS-CoV-2.
It was the first drug to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in October for Covid treatment, subject to certain treatments. However, a week earlier, interim results by WHO’s Solidarity trial stated that remdesivir “appeared to have little or no effect on hospitalised Covid-19 patients, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay”.