A drug, far more effective in treating coronavirus than remdesivir, has been identified by a team of US and French scientists. The drug plitidepsin is 27.5 times more potent than remdesivir, according to a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Science on Monday. The study that found the efficacy was conducted by scientists in New York, San Francisco and Paris. The researchers demonstrated the in vivo efficacy of plitidepsin in mice infected with SARS-CoV-2 that showed significant reduction of the viral replication.
Plitidepsin, according to the researchers, should be considered for clinical trials based on its in vivo study results. Plitidepsin aka Aplidin is owned by Spanish pharmaceutical company Pharma Mar. The study noted the data and the initial positive results from Pharma Mar's clinical trial suggests that plitidepsin should be strongly considered for expanded clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19.
Plitidepsin, a chemical compound extracted from ascidian Aplidium albicans showed 'potential preclinical efficacy' against the virus. Aplidium albicans is a marine creature found in the Ibiza, Spain. It has been approved in Australia as it has been able to treat cancer of plasma cells or myeloma.
However, the drug is yet to be available for commercial use in most parts of the world and is undergoing trials for treatment of coronavirus patients. It was used along with dexamethasone, a well-established steroid that was also used in the treatment of myeloma. According to the researchers, this proves that plitidepsin has an 'established safety profile'. The study said that clinicians could treat coronavirus with both the drugs if warranted.
Remdesivir that is currently being used for coronavirus treatments was the first to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, days later a WHO Solidarity trial said that remdesivir showed 'little or no effect' on hospitalised coronavirus patients.