Since these are not normal times, this could be skipped and evaluated under compassionate use and established clinical trials in people.
The patients given the drug in the Chinese city of Shenzhen tested negative for the virus with a median of four days after becoming positive - much lower than the average of 11 days for those who were not given the medicine, according to the Guardian.
In that regard it's similar to remdesivir, a drug now being tested in COVID-19 patients. Unlike other potential treatment options that are delivered intravenously, EIDD-2801 can be taken as a pill.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an Investigational New Drug application by Drug Innovations at Emory (DRIVE), LLC (Atlanta, GA, USA) for an orally available antiviral compound, EIDD-2801, exclusively licensed to Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP (Miami, FL, USA). This time span is estimated to be longer in humans as there is a larger time gap between the onset and death in humans than in mice. The antiviral effect of iNO was tested and demonstrated during the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic, which was caused by a similar coronavirus called the SARS-CoV virus.
The team's initial findings were published online earlier this week by the journal Science Translational Medicine.
If they are successful, the drug could not only be used to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, but also could control future outbreaks of other emerging coronaviruses. Additionally, it also offers an advantage by treating patients who are less ill or even as a precautionary measure in hospitals where people have been exposed to the infection but are not showing symptoms yet. In addition to coronaviruses, EIDD-2801 has broad spectrum activity against a number of diseases of public health concern, including influenza, chikungunya, Ebola and equine encephalitis (VEE and EEE).
The vaccine candidate protected all murine models from a lethal MERS infection and could also be effective against the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19. Offering some good news amidst this crisis is a new drug that could turn the tide against SARS-CoV-2.
"Viruses that carry Remdesivir resistance mutations are actually more susceptible to EIDD-1931 and vice versa, suggesting that the two drugs could be combined for greater efficacy and to prevent the emergence of resistance", said George Painter, co-author and director of EIDD.
"With three novel human coronaviruses emerging in the past 20 years, it is likely that we will continue to see more", said first author Timothy Sheahan, a Gillings assistant professor of epidemiology and a collaborator in the Baric Lab. "EIDD-2801 holds promise to not only treat COVID-19 patients today, but to treat new coronaviruses that may emerge in the future".