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Failed Ebola drug on trial for COVID-19

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MORE revelations are coming up on COVID 19 treatment as drug that failed clinical trials for potential Ebola cure may be effective in stopping replication mechanism of the virus that causes COVID-19, researchers at the University of Alberta, Edmonton have revealed.

  Scientists say, Remdesivir, originally developed in 2014 to fight the Ebola epidemic, is “highly effective” in halting the replication mechanism of the novel coronavirus.

  The same Alberta University virology lab found in late February that the drug worked well against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which is caused by a related coronavirus.

  The drug’s effect on coronaviruses is the same idea as putting diesel in a petrol-powered car, given that the engine will not run, according to medical microbiology and immunology chair at the university, Dr. Matthias Gotte.

  “We will have answers, some good answers in a couple of months from now, whether Remdesivir or any of the drugs that are right now in randomised clinical trials, whether they show benefit to certain patients or not,” Gotte said.

He says drug manufacturer Gilead has already given the drug to some critically ill COVID-19 patients on compassionate grounds, and two-thirds of those patients recovered.

He however cautioned against jumping to conclusions on how the drug will work in the general population until clinical trials, which have been fast-tracked by the World Health Organisation are concluded.

“We’ve got to be patient and wait for the results of the randomised clinical trials,” Gotte noted while pointing out that the laboratory research was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Alberta government’s Major Innovation Fund and Gilead.

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