Japanese researchers find some drugs effective against coronavirus

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A Japanese team has discovered some existing medical agents effective at inhibiting RNA viruses, including the novel coronavirus, through an experiment using induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS.

The results of the study were published in the online edition of the European scientific journal FEBS Open Bio on Wednesday.

Medical agents include raloxifene, an osteoporosis drug, remdesivir, an antiviral drug approved in Japan as a COVID-19 treatment, and pioglitazone, used to treat diabetes.

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The team, including researchers from the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University, said their findings would be useful in developing new treatments for viral diseases, although clinical trials need to be done. conducted to finally confirm the effects of drugs.

In the study, the team first administered 500 drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to iPS cells infected with Sendai virus, an RNA virus often used in gene therapy research. Six of these, including raloxifene, remdesivir, and pioglitazone, showed infection reduction effects.

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The team then used the six drugs for human liver cells infected with the Ebola virus and African green monkey kidney cells infected with the new coronavirus.

Raloxifene and remdesivir have shown antiviral effects on both cells infected with Ebola and novel coronaviruses, while pioglitazone has been shown to be effective against the coronavirus.

“If we have drugs that can inhibit multiple RNA viruses, they could also be effective against new viruses that may be discovered in the future,” said Haruhisa Inoue, professor at CiRA.

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