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UCSF Scientists Find Cancer Drug That May Stop Covid-19

By Jamie Ferrell

UCSF Scientists Find Cancer Drug That May Stop Covid-19

Scientists found the compounds in this cancer drug are almost 30 times more effective than remdesivir at fighting Covid-19.

A team of UCSF and Mt. Sinai (ISMMS) scientists has found a potential new Covid-19 therapy with plitidepsin (Aplidin), a Spanish drug used for cancer treatment.

According to a report in Science on January 25th, it proved 27.5 times more potent against the Covid-19 virus than remdesivir, the drug currently being used.

Two models showed plitidepsin to greatly decrease viral reproduction in the lungs. A separate report also showed effectiveness against the new Covid variant, and increased potency in human epithelial cells.


Plitidepsin is a compound derived from a peculiar sea creature near Ibiza called a “sea squirt,” or Aplidium albicans. It’s owned by Spanish company PharmaMar, and approved by Australia to treat the blood cancer multiple myeloma.

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The studies were conducted by the labs of Nevan Krogan, PhD, with the Quantitative Biosciences Institute at UCSF, and Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, PhD, with the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute at ISMMS in New York, in collaboration with PharmaMar in Spain and Greg Towers, PhD, and Clare Jolly, PhD, of University College London.

Plitidepsin must still undergo broad clinical trials before being introduced in the United States. If approved, it could become the most potent antiviral drug against the coronavirus.

 

[Featured Image: Facebook / PharmaMar]