The race for cures: progress every day

La course aux remèdes: des progrès tous les jours

The issues scientists arise at a furious pace since the beginning of the pandemic. Each day brings its lot of new perspectives in the search for a cure or new knowledge about the origins and the functioning of the coronavirus. If no definitive treatment has yet been found, this flood of discoveries has certainly something encouraging. The Journal offers you an overview of the latest findings, scientists around the world.

A mutation would have made it more infectious

A tiny genetic mutation of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 would have significantly increased its ability to infect human cells, according to researchers from the Scripps institution in California.

The authors of the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, analyzed a strain of the virus that is now “dominant” in Europe and the United States.

This strain contains a mutation, called D614G, which was not present in the first variants of the virus.

The scientists have noticed that the virus is much more infectious with this mutation, which appeared in march.

However, as these observations were made in the laboratory in a controlled environment, we can not yet assert that this is necessarily a greater transmission of the virus in the real world.

With the time, the coronavirus would become more “stable” because the spikes on the surface of the virus, that allow it to bind to human cells, would become more numerous and more ” flexible “, researchers believe.

This thinks of that the doc Béliveau

The appearance of a mutation that makes the virus more stable was predictable, to the extent that viruses obey the laws of natural selection and are constantly seeking to improve their chances of survival. However, it remains to determine the real impact of this mutation on its infectivity at the population level.

A drug that saves lives

 

Already used to treat other diseases and not expensive, dexamethasone, a drug of the family of steroids, fueled the hope around the globe these last few days.

According to a british study, it would reduce by one third the mortality of patients with severely by the COVID-19, or those placed under artificial ventilation.

In people less suffering, to which oxygen is administered with a mask, this anti-inflammatory could prevent one death in five.

However, it would have no effect on patients who do not require respiratory assistance.

At least that is what showed trial uk Recovery attended by more than 6400 patients, of whom 2104 were received the experimental treatment.

These results, described as” major step forward “, have even led the british government to encourage the use of dexamethasone for patients in a critical state, reported the AFP.

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Inflammation plays a key role in the development of severe complications of the COVID-19 and it is encouraging to see that drugs of well-established battling this inflammation excessive can heal critically ill patients.

Other antiviral drugs in the study

A group of researchers affiliated with the Norwegian university of science and technology (NTNU) has developed in the laboratory a culture of human cells infected by the SARS-CoV-2.

It has enabled the testing of 136 drugs that already exist on the market to treat other diseases and are therefore considered safe for humans.

The objective was to verify if some might not have any inhibitory effect on the novel coronavirus. Finally, six different molecules have shown potential.

A combination of two of these drugs has particularly attracted the attention : as a whole, nelfinavir (an HIV treatment) and amodiaquine (an anti-malarial medication and anti-inflammatory) ” had the greatest synergy “, noted the scientists who believe that these drugs should be the subject of preclinical studies right now.

However, it will take the tests on humans to find out if this treatment can truly help the patients with the COVID-19.

This thinks of that the doc Béliveau

Failure to be able to rely on antiviral drugs specific, a strategy based on combinations of drugs developed to treat other diseases represents an interesting avenue.

A unique technology

The company american pharmaceutical Regeneron launched last June 11 for a first clinical trial on humans to test the effectiveness of his “cocktail of antiviral antibody” against the COVID-19, called REGN-COV2.

The company has a unique technology that allows it to produce human antibodies from genetically modified mice.

She has used this technology and antibodies from the serum of the survivors of the COVID-19 to analyze thousands of antibodies and select two that seemed most promising.

The REGN-COV2, which takes the form of an injection, would be able to both treat and prevent infection with the COVID-19.

Remember that the human body naturally produces antibodies when it encounters a virus for the first time or when it is inoculate a vaccine.

Treatment with an antibody provides immunity immediate, but temporary, and therefore less durable than that offers a vaccine.

Regeneron argues, however, that his treatment could be available “well before” a vaccine.

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