Left Menu
Development News Edition

Italy okays trial of osteoporosis drug to treat COVID-19

Italy's main medicines regulator gave the go-ahead on Tuesday for human clinical trials on raloxifene, a generic osteoporosis drug that researchers hope may also help reduce COVID-19 symptoms and make patients less infectious. The drug was identified as a potential COVID-19 treatment by researchers using supercomputers to screen more than 400,000 molecules for chemical characteristics that might inhibit the virus, focusing on those already approved for use in humans.

Reuters | Updated: 27-10-2020 14:34 IST | Created: 27-10-2020 14:31 IST
Italy okays trial of osteoporosis drug to treat COVID-19
Representative Picture. Image Credit: Pxhere

Italy's main medicines regulator gave the go-ahead on Tuesday for human clinical trials on raloxifene, a generic osteoporosis drug that researchers hope may also help reduce COVID-19 symptoms and make patients less infectious.

The drug was identified as a potential COVID-19 treatment by researchers using supercomputers to screen more than 400,000 molecules for chemical characteristics that might inhibit the virus, focusing on those already approved for use in humans. Andrea Beccari, from Excalate4Cov, a public-private consortium led by Italy's Dompé Farmaceutici, said researchers hoped that raloxifene - a generic drug known as a selective estrogen receptor modulator - would block replication of the virus in cells and thus slow down the progress of the disease.

"It inhibits virus replication, thus preventing the worsening of patients with mild symptoms, and also decreases infectivity, limiting the viral load," said Marco Allegretti, head of research at Dompé Farmaceutici. There was some evidence early in the coronavirus pandemic that estrogen present in pre-menopausal women might have a protective effect against the virus. Some scientists think raloxifene, which is prescribed to strengthen the bones of older women with lower levels of estrogen, the female hormone, may provide the same kind of protection.

The trial will involve 450 hospital and home patients at Rome's Spallanzani Hospital and Humanitas in Milan in the initial phase. They will be given a seven-day treatment of raloxifene capsules in a randomized sample and 174 more people may be added in the final stage. Enrolment will last 12 weeks.

The Excalate4Cov platform is backed by the European Commission and coordinates supercomputing centers in Italy, Germany, and Spain with pharmaceutical companies and research centers, including the University of Louvain, Fraunhofer Institut, Politecnico di Milano, and Spallanzani Hospital. It uses a chemical library of 500 billion molecules and can process 3 million molecules per second using four supercomputers of more than 122 Petaflops, a unit of computing speed equal to one thousand trillion floating-point operations a second.

Researchers harnessed the power of the supercomputers to create a three-dimensional structure of 12 coronavirus proteins and conduct simulations to see where the proteins may be attacked by a drug. "It took a million hours of calculation," Beccari said, adding that, as research continued, it may be possible to develop second-generation drugs superior to raloxifene.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Turbulence surrounding tobacco control in Ghana

... ...

Smart healthcare: IoT redefining the way healthcare is delivered

As the world is embracing the new wave of digitalization triggered by the pandemic and the arrival of 5G, the adoption of IoT devices will further boom. With adoption set to soar, IoT security issues and other challenges cant be ignored any...

Refugee compassion and response: Ideas to mitigate disasters now and in their future

Their homeland becomes a forbidden territory for them and more likely than not, their journey to foreign soil is no less traumatizing, not to say deadly. It is crucial to help refugees live a life of dignity and purpose....

Inadequate water infrastructure causes a tidal wave of coronavirus in rural Alaska

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Soccer-Bayern reach knockout stage with 3-1 win over Salzburg

Holders Bayern Munich failed to hit top form but did enough for a 3-1 win over visitors Salzburg on Wednesday to book their spot in the Champions League knockout stage with two games to spare. The German champions stretched their record run...

Soccer-Lacklustre Liverpool slump to 2-0 loss to Atalanta

Atalantas Josip Ilicic and Robin Gosens scored quickfire second-half goals to give them a comfortable 2-0 win over a toothless Liverpool, who barely managed a shot on target, in their Champions League Group D clash at Anfield on Wednesday.H...

Trump refuses to accept Biden's win as transition proceeds

President Donald Trump has baselessly claimed anew that he had won the election and uttered repeated falsehoods as he called into an event held by Pennsylvania Republicans to investigate unproven allegations of voter fraud. This was an elec...

Trump pardons former adviser Flynn, who pleaded guilty in Russia probe

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trumps pardon...

Give Feedback