A new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that some antiviral drugs used in the early stages of infection could not only help patients recover, but prevent thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases.
The study, published today in Nature Communications, focuses on influenza and has implications for the novel Coronavirus.
By modeling the effects of two major influenza drugs, the team found significant differences in the efficacy of oseltamivir and Baloxavir.
Oseltamivir, an early antiviral drug used to treat influenza, is commonly known to patients under the name Tamiflu, while baloxfluza is sold under the brand name Xofluza.
The researchers found that the new treatment (by effectively and quickly stopping the virus from replicating) greatly reduced the time it took an infected person to transmit, and thus better limited the spread of the flu.
Molecular biology science emeritus professor Robert krueger (Robert Krug) for the paper attached blog wrote the article, he said: “we found that in patients with symptoms of infection, even if only baloxavir treatment of 10% of infected patients, can also be in a typical flu season indirectly prevent millions of infections and save thousands of lives.”
Kruger’s early basic research findings provided the basis for the development of Barosave.
Kruger and an epidemiological modeling group led by Comprehensive biology Professor Lauren Ancel Meyers concluded from the study that a novel Coronavirus treatment that is similarly effective will help prevent thousands of novel coronavirus infections and deaths.
Developing such an antiviral drug takes time and new strategies for public health planning, but it could have lasting benefits for patients, communities and health-care providers.
“Imagine a drug that can eliminate viral load in a day and radically shorten the infectious cycle,” said Meyers, who has novel Coronavirus as a model for viral transmission.
Basically, we can isolate coVID-19 cases with drugs rather than physical means and break the chain of transmission.”
To date, most novel Coronavirus drug studies have prioritized existing antiviral drugs that can be quickly used to treat critically ill patients with life-threatening symptoms.
The scientists acknowledge that this will mark a departure from the novel Coronavirus antiviral drug that will be used in the early stages of infection to inhibit viral replication, just as Baloxavir does for flu.
“It may seem counterintuitive to focus on treating patients who appear to be healthy shortly after a novel Coronavirus positive test, rather than critically ill patients who need to save their lives,” said Kruger.
Nevertheless, our analysis suggests that the right early antiviral treatment can stop the spread of the virus, which is likely to save many more lives in the long run.”
Postdoctoral researcher Zhanwei Du has done a lot of modeling research.
Co-authored the paper by Ciara Nugent and Alison P. Galvani, graduate students at the Yale School of Public Health, and the team wrote an accompanying blog post about the impact of the Novel Coronavirus.