The online journal sciencedaily.com reported a startling, and highly positive, new development in the fight against COVID-19.
According to a release from Georgia State University, researchers in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University have confirmed that an oral medication that is effective in preventing influenza transmission is also effective against COVID-19 transmission within 24 hours.
Unlikely Test Subjects?
The initial research was conducted with ferrets, as those animals readily transmit the virus but rarely develop serious disease. That pattern parallels the usual infection pattern in young human adults.
The researchers infected a “contact” group of ferrets and began treatment when they started shedding virus from the nose. The infected were co-housed with control animals. The result? The rate of infection among the treated cohort was zero, compared to 100 percent infection in the infected, but given a placebo, arm.
Not Ready For Prime Time?
This isn’t news you want to share with your patients yet. There are a number of steps to go through before the drug can be submitted for review and an Emergency Use Authorization. The most important of these is confirming whether the results of animal trials are confirmed in human trials.
If the drug proves effective, and it’s currently in advanced phase II/III clinical trials against COVID-19, it could be administered to identified or even suspected COVID outpatients as a first-line strategy to reduce the spread of the disease when added to the current “3 W’s” – wearing a mask, washing hands, watching one’s social distance.
Slowing the spread while a large enough proportion of the populace is vaccinated is a winning strategy in the fight against the pandemic.
If the vaccines’ suppressive effects on transmission aren’t confirmed, molnupravir has the potential to become a crucial preventative against transmission. And reducing the spread of the virus to zero would be a huge help to first-line healthcare workers, immunized or not, who are exposed every day.
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