An experimental drug originally being developed to treat influenza is showing promise against SARS-CoV-2 and might defend against COVID-19 from two different directions, researchers said.
The drug, called zapnometinib or ATR-002, could potentially curb the proliferation of the virus in cells and also reduce the exaggerated immune response that contributes to critical illness in severe cases of COVID-19, test tube experiments indicated. The data, published this week in the journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, provided the basis on which the German Institute of Drugs and Medicinal Products gave manufacturer Atriva Therapeutics its approval for the drug to be tested in people.
This marks the first time any drug has been shown to have a dual action against COVID-19, study co-author Stephan Ludwig of the University of Muenster said in a news release. “Positive results from the still-ongoing clinical study in humans might already lead to an emergency approval this year,” Ludwig said.