Drug for bipolar disorder shows promise against COVID-19
Another existing drug for bipolar disorder could prove effective against COVID-19 according to new study results. Studies based on computer models have shown that Ebselen could be a promising drug against Sars-CoV-2. In addition, the latest study could help develop this as a new treatment for COVID-19. The results also provide indications of which other existing drug scientists should prioritize in finding effective therapies.
Can a drug also fight coronavirus in bipolar disorder?
The sudden onset and rapid spread of coronavirus has catalyzed a significant amount of research into possible treatments and therapies. SARS-CoV-2 shares many similarities with other coronaviruses, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). However, according to the authors of the new study, reusing SARS drugs for COVID-19 may not be effective. Treatments and therapies are important as a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 could be 2 years away. Although researchers are moving towards a vaccine quickly, it is important to find ways to either reduce the severity of COVID-19 or reduce a person’s likelihood of contracting it. However, it can take many years for drug treatments to develop on their own. Scientists need to carefully review these to make sure they are safe for general use.
Unlike vaccines, existing drugs that scientists have already tested and reviewed can be used in the clinic much earlier. Previous research suggests that Ebselen could inhibit enzymes in SARS-CoV-2 that are essential for replication in a host cell. In particular, it inhibits the major protease of the virus known as “MPro”. Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 spreads by replication and takes over cells in a host organism. By inhibiting replication, the immune system has a better chance of fighting the virus, potentially reducing the duration and severity of COVID-19. The most recent studies have taken a closer look at Ebselen in order to better understand whether it can be effective against SARS-CoV-2. This is important because initial studies that identify promising existing drugs depend on simplifications. These simplifications allow scientists to process large databases quickly, but they can cause errors.
Prospects for treatment
In the past, doctors have used Ebselen to treat bipolar disorder and hearing loss. Studies have also shown that it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, scientists have already shown that Ebselen is safe. To investigate the potential of Ebselen as a basis for a treatment for COVID-19, researchers created sophisticated computer models of both Ebselen and the main protease Mpro. They found that ebselen is likely to be effective at inhibiting the enzyme in more than one way. This is good news regarding Ebselen’s potential action against COVID-19.
However, such a drug for bipolar disorder also describes another security hole in the virus. The scientists could also take these into account when searching for other drug candidates. Crucially, the most recent study only shows the drug’s potential effectiveness. Field testing will be required to determine if the results apply outside of the laboratory. The authors of the study plan to continue their search for the vulnerabilities of SARS-CoV-2.
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