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UNAM scientists identify drugs for hepatitis C as a possible treatment for COVID-19

June 12, 2020

The antiviral sofosbuvir may be effective, according to a study published in Nature Scientific Reports.

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UNAM scientists identify drugs for hepatitis C as a possible treatment for COVID-19UNAM scientists identify drugs for hepatitis C as a possible treatment for COVID-19


A group of scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), led by scientist Antonio Lazcano from the Faculty of Science, found that the COVID-19 could be treated with a drug that is used to Hepatitis C, called sofosbuvir.

The research, in which Arturo Becerra, José Alberto Campillo Balderas, Rodrigo Jácome and Samuel Ponce de León are also involved, confirmed the finding by examining the genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 in computer programs that examined the genetic material of the virus.

What explains the published study Scientific reportsis that the structural overlay of the polymerase, an enzyme that can transcribe or replicate nucleic acids, of the hepatitis C virus on the COVID-19 polymerase shows that the residues (of hepatitis C) that bind to sofosbuvir are present in COVID-19.

In this way, sofosbuvir, an antiviral nucleoside analog approved for hepatitis C virus infections, could become due to the similarities in polymerases to the treatment of SARS-CoV-2, but laboratory and clinical studies need to be conducted to test its effectiveness.

The scientists stated in the article that Abdo A. Elfiky, associate professor of biophysics at the University of Cairo, reported very similar conclusions in their research titled while reviewing their material “”Anti-HCV, nucleotide inhibitors used against COVID-19“Where” he built a model based on SARS-CoV-2 nsp12 homology and carried out molecular coupling experiments to test whether sofosbuvir and other nucleoside analogues could be effective against the virus, which led to promising results.

In this way, UNAM scientists recommend starting in vitro experiments to test the effectiveness of this and some other medicines against COVID-19 and its minimum inhibitory concentration as a step towards clinical trials.