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Chinese scientists find promising oral COVID-19 drug candidate: study

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-06-06 21:28
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BEIJING - A new study led by Chinese university scientists has identified a compound derived from the antiviral drug remdesivir that exhibits potential as an oral treatment for COVID-19.

Published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the study shows that ATV006, which was synthesized from the remdesivir derivative GS-441524, demonstrated improved oral absorption and robust antiviral efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 and variants in animal tests.

According to previous studies, GS-441524, though effective against SARS-CoV-2, suffers from poor oral bioavailability, which hampers its further development as an oral drug.

In the study, scientists from Sun Yat-sen University and Shenzhen-based Southern University of Science and Technology found the oral administration of ATV006 can reduce viral loads, alleviate lung damage and effectively prevent death in infected mice.

More importantly, the new drug compound was found to be effective against the Delta and Omicron variants in mouse models.

The scientists compared the new drug to remdesivir, which was among the first COVID-19 treatments authorized in 2020. They highlighted that ATV006 has a simpler structure and can be synthesized easily, which will not only accelerate production times but also reduce production costs.

These results suggest that ATV006 represents a promising drug candidate for the treatment for COVID-19 and potentially for emerging coronavirus diseases in the future, said the study.

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