A team of scientists from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Georgia found during a study that the drug MK4482 / EIDD-2801, or molnupiravir, prevented transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus for 24 hours. That is, someone who is infected actually becomes contagious. Descriptions of the researchers’ work are published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
According to the head of the group, Professor Richard Plemper, it was initially revealed that this drug was effective against influenza viruses.
“We previously noted that MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 has a broad spectrum of activity against respiratory RNA viruses and that oral treatment of infected animals with this drug reduces the amount of viral particles released by several orders of magnitude, dramatically reducing transmission, ”said the doctor.
Scientists have tweeted the drug against SARS-CoV-2 and tested its effect on ferrets. These animals carry the coronavirus in a mild form and spread through the upper respiratory tract, similar to the pattern of disease in young people.
The results of the experiment showed that none of the ferrets close to an infected relative who received molnupiravir were infected.
“ If this data is transmitted to humans, COVID-19 patients receiving the drug could become infectious within 24 hours of starting treatment, ” the study’s co-author said, Dr. Josef Wolf.
He added that molnupiravir is taken orally, and so treatment against infection can be started early. This can have a triple effect: COVID-19 does not develop into severe form, the duration of illness is reduced, and the risk of infection by other virus carriers is reduced.
Currently, the authors noted, MK-4482 / EIDD-2801 is in the second phase of clinical trials against SARS-CoV-2.