Pfizer pills, new strains, and medicinal mushrooms: weekly digest of the fight against COVID-19

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Vaccination against coronavirus is gaining momentum in the world. Moreover, scientists make new discoveries every day due to which it will be possible to fight the covid pandemic. However, some people sabotage vaccinations—for example, 41% of Ukrainians are critical of coronavirus vaccinations.

However, in the face of the emergence of more and more coronavirus strains, vaccination and new medications for the COVID-19 treatment remain the main method that can stop the virus from spreading around the planet. The Page has compiled the most important news on the fight against coronavirus in the world this week.

1

Pfizer pills against coronavirus

The American company Pfizer announced that it had begun the first phase of trials of oral antiviral therapy for COVID-19. The new medication called PF-07321332 is a protease inhibitor that, according to the company’s representatives, had shown to be active against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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The company stated that the fight against coronavirus requires not only vaccine prevention, but also targeted treatment of those who have already become infected with covid.

In addition, given that the coronavirus is mutating, it will likely be crucial to have access to therapeutic options both now and after the pandemic.

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Protease inhibitors have a history of treating other viral pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C, according to the company.

2

Aspirin against complications from coronavirus

Scientists have begun to study the effect of aspirin on the fight against coronavirus. Previously, it was found that aspirin can help COVID-19 patients overcome excessive blood clotting that can be fatal.

Scientists monitored more than 400 adults who took low-dose aspirin. The average dose was 81 mg before hospitalization or within 24 hours after it.

However, in the new study of aspirin, there was no such a control group that was supposed to show clear benefits of aspirin in the fight against coronavirus. At the same time, the study provides a possible insight into what might work to continue to fight complications from the coronavirus.

The researchers compared their results with those of over 300 patients who did not take aspirin. Further analysis after adjusting of other risks, such as age, high blood pressure, or diabetes, showed that taking aspirin:

  • reduces the risk of hospitalization in the intensive care unit by 43%;
  • reduces the risk of ALV by 44%;
  • reduces the risk of death in hospital by 47%.

However, it is too early to talk about taking aspirin by hospitalized people, as such assumptions must undergo a randomized clinical trial to prove that low-dose aspirin is beneficial for everyone, not just for those with heart diseases.

In addition,one should not take aspirin or increase the dosage of the medication without consulting the doctor first. Aspirin has properties to prevent blood clotting, and that can be fatal due to bleeding.

3

Leprosy medications for treating coronavirus

In addition to aspirin, clofazimine that is used to treat a number of diseases, including leprosy, can be very useful in the treatment of coronavirus.

Clofazimine demonstrates antiviral properties against other coronavirus variants and limits the extreme inflammatory response commonly seen with COVID-19, according to a new study by researchers at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, California, and the University of Hong Kong at Pok Fu Lam.

If researchers are able to confirm the effectiveness of clofazimine, experts can immediately apply the medication against COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved it for use against leprosy, and it is on the World Health Organization's Model List of Essential Medicines.

Scientists hope to test clofazimine as soon as possible in a second phase of clinical trial for people who are tested positive for COVID-19 but have not yet been hospitalized.

4

Mushrooms in the fight against coronavirus

Scientists continue to actively search for drugs against the coronavirus. Oddly enough it looks, but mushrooms can help mankind in the fight against coronavirus.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have begun clinical trials to find out if certain types of mushrooms can help treat coronavirus in its early stages.

Dr. Gordon Saxe, who is leading the Krupp Center for Integration Research at the University of California, said that some mushrooms can help fight the coronavirus. He noted that mushrooms can get infected with viruses and bacteria just like humans, so over time they have developed defenses. This is what allowed them to be used in medicine.

Among 12 thousand varieties of mushrooms, scientists have identified two: turkey tail (Trametes multicolor) and agaricon (Laricifomes officinalis). Both grow in the forests of North America and have no hallucinogenic properties.

For example, during laboratory tests, agaricon has shown strong antiviral activity against drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, as well as H1N1 (swine flu), H5N1 (bird flu), vaccinia, and herpes viruses.

In some experiments, compounds in agaricon were ten times more potent against influenza viruses than pharmaceutical ribavirin.

5

New coronavirus strains

It has become almost traditional for scientists to discover a new strain of coronavirus every week. Thus, a new mutation of the virus was found in the Belgian city of Liege. It was found in about 4% of all coronavirus patients in the country.

This is significantly less than the number of people infected with the British strain of coronavirus in Europe, but this type of virus does not behave like others. Usually, copies of the virus lose DNA, while the Belgian version, on the contrary, collects many additions.

It is not yet known whether it is more contagious or dangerous.

The discovery of a new coronavirus mutation was also reported by the authorities in India. Scientists are now testing how much more contagious the strain is, as well as its resistance to vaccines.

Sequencing of the latest virus samples revealed that a small proportion of samples collected in the western state of Maharashtra showed an increase in the proportion of E484Q and L452R mutations compared to December last year.

The double mutation was found in key areas of the spike protein—the part of the virus with which it enters the cells of the human body. This mutation can make the virus more dangerous, allowing it to evade the immune system.

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