The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has developed into a global pandemic with millions of people infected and tens of thousands of lives lost. Identifying effective drugs to treat COID-19 is important and urgent, especially the approved drugs that can be immediately tested in clinical trials.
In a recent study, researchers developed a hybrid protocol of combining deep learning methods with molecular simulations to search for potential drug candidates that can inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2. The novel screening approach identified four promising drugs, which were then tested against SARS-CoV-2 in lab experiments. Two of the drugs, pralatrexate and azithromycin, successfully inhibited replication of the virus. Further lab experiments showed that pralatrexate more strongly inhibited viral replication than did remdesivir, a drug that is currently used to treat some COVID-19 patients.
The researcher said, “we have demonstrated the value of our novel hybrid approach that combines deep-learning technologies with more traditional simulations of molecular dynamics.” As I have said many times, we should have nothing but respect for these researchers who devote their professional lives to finding answers! Will these medications really work? It’s hard to know, but thanks to their research we may have another opportunity to control this pandemic!
Stay the course, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!