A cure for MERS?

Published May 22nd, 2014 - 07:34 GMT

US and European researchers have identified several drugs already licensed for other uses or in clinical development that show activity against MERS-CoV, raising hope that doctors may eventually be able to offer patients something more than just supportive care, according to a report publishe in Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

Three reports on potential drugs for MERS were published online in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

In the first study, a team of US researchers screened a library of 290 drugs – already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or in advanced clinical development – for antiviral activity against MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) in cell culture, ASM said in a press release. They found 27 compounds, including some cancer drugs and antipsychotics, that were active against both viruses.

“Repurposing of approved pharmaceutical drugs for new indications presents an attractive alternative to the normal paradigm of huge library screening against a specific viral enzyme,” coauthor Matthew Frieman of the University of Maryland Medical School said in the release

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