Drug For Rare Infectious Disease May Help Treat COVID-19, New Study Finds

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Researchers have identified clofazimine, an existing drug proved effective against SARS and MERS, as a potential treatment for COVID-19, Medical News Today reported.

Currently, clofazimine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an effective drug against leprosy. It is also listed on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines and has been effectively tested for safety, according to Medical News Today.

A peer-reviewed study by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, CA, and the University of Hong Kong in Pok Fu Lam first suggested that it could possibly be used against COVID-19, Medical News Today reported.

Studies have shown that Clofazimine prohibits the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to enter cells and replicate through Ribonucleic acid (RNA), according to Medical News Today.

Tests have shown that Clofazimine “exhibits antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2 and limits the extreme inflammatory response that commonly occurs with COVID-19,” according to Medical News Today. (RELATED: WHO Advises Against Remdesivir, The Drug Used To Treat Trump)

Dr. Sumit K. Chanda, an author of the study from the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys stated that “Clofazimine is an ideal candidate for a COVID-19 treatment. It is safe, affordable, easy to make, taken as a pill and can be made globally available.”

“Since there is currently no outpatient treatment available for these individuals, clofazimine may help reduce the impact of the disease, which is particularly important now as we see new variants of the virus emerge and against which the current vaccines appear less efficacious,” Chanda said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Remdesivir in October 2020 as a treatment against COVID-19, according to Harvard Medical School. Many doctors have also used Dexamethasone as a treatment.

Coronoaviruses have caused pandemics three times in the 21st century, with the previous incidents being severe respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and MERS in 2012, Medical News Today stated.