According to a recent Straits Times' latest report, the drug remdesivir, combined with two other drugs Ritonavir and Lopinavir, are said to be more effective at treating coronavirus infections.
Singapore researchers conducted a new study that revealed Remdesivir to be six-and-a-half times more effective at treating patients if it is combined with ritonavir and lopinavir--drugs used to treat people the with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), the researchers were able to determine the effective combination and dosage of the drugs that proved to be effective.
Also Read: COVID-19 Update: Virus Found in Bats is 'Closest Relative' of SARS-CoV-2; 6 Feet Not Enough to Avoid COVID-19, Experts Say
Repurposing drugs used to treat other diseases may benefit the individuals infected by the novel coronavirus in the race towards a cure. Remdesivir, the drug originally used to treat Ebola, was approved in the United States for emergency use earlier in May.
Combination of remdesivir, ritonavir, and lopinavir 6 times more effective in treating coronavirus, study shows; Moderna's mid-stage study started dosing patients
Professor Dean Ho, the director of the N.1 Institute for Health and the Institute for Digital Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS), co-supervised the study. He claimed that although the research for a COVID-19 vaccine or cure continues, the results their study produced will help speed up the search for an interim treatment.
"Drugs on the market can be combined in various ways and in varying doses," he said in the report. "With AI, we can interrogate the entire universe of possibilities."
The new platform created by the researchers is called "IDentif.AI" which used a pool of 12 carefully selected drugs, and combined them in different ways to check which combination yielded the best result. The drugs used in the study are already being evaluated in clinical trials, with some that are already approved for patient use. Remdesivir, ritonavir, lopinavir, as well as the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, are involved in the study.
The researchers created 530,000 drug combinations, and the combination of remdesivir, lopinavir, and ritonavir came out on top. Ho stated that identifying a drug that could effectively treat the coronavirus can be a lengthy and laborious process. However, one drug can be boosted if another one will be combined with it.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Moderna has started dosing patients in a mid-stage study and plans to enroll 600 patients for the trial, Moderna Inc. announced on Friday, May 29. The report clarified that a safe and effective vaccine is estimated to take 12 to 18 months to be developed.