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Anti-microbe drug can fight coronavirus, say scientists

An affordable anti-microbial drug used to treat stomach ulcers and bacterial infections has shown promise in combating the coronavirus in animals, scientists in Hong Kong announced Monday.

Researchers set out to explore whether metallodrugs — compounds containing metal that are more commonly used against bacteria — might also have anti-viral properties that could fight the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Using Syrian hamsters as tests subjects, they found that one of the drugs, ranitidine bismuth citrate (RBC), was “a potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent”.

“RBC is able to lower the viral load in the lung of the infected hamster by tenfold,” Hong Kong University researcher Runming Wang told reporters on Monday as the team presented their study.

“Our findings demonstrate that RBC is a potential anti-viral agent for COVID-19.”

The Hong Kong scientists said RBC was a commonly available drug used against stomach ulcers with a safe and comprehensive pharmacological profile.

“It’s been used for decades so it’s pretty safe,” Mr. Wang said.

They added that their research has been published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:51:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/anti-microbe-drug-can-fight-coronavirus-say-scientists/article32837625.ece

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