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San Diego Scientists Uncover 30 Potential Coronavirus Drug Therapies

An undated artist rendering of the coronavirus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
An undated artist rendering of the coronavirus.

San Diego scientists have uncovered more than two dozen potential antiviral treatments for COVID-19. The discovery, published Friday, is a first step in finding a cure for the deadly novel coronavirus.

San Diego and international scientists tested close to 12,000 drug therapies that were FDA approved or in a clinical-trial stage. Of those, they identified 30 existing drugs that were able to stop the coronavirus from replicating within human cells.

Sumit Chanda, a virus expert at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, said the discovery will help scientists pinpoint a cure for the novel coronavirus.

San Diego Scientists Uncover 30 Potential Coronavirus Drug Therapies

"This is a first step. We have 30 more rays of sunshine poking through right now that could be potential cures for coronavirus," he said. "Some of them went into clinical trial for things like Chron’s disease, for things like lymphoma, they run the gamut — hypertension, a number of anti-malarial drugs."

Chanda said this is the first stage of the drug discovery process. These therapies should go through vigorous testing in clinical trials before they are released to the public.

"But until, and unless, we are able to go through clinical investigation and have case-controlled studies ... there’s no need for the public to go out and try to ask their doctors or try to hoard any of these medications," he said.

The virus takes over multiple proteins in the body, he said. Most likely treating COVID-19 patients will require a cocktail of different drugs, and the study suggests several may pan out.

"Our notion is that no single drug is going to be the magic bullet," Chanda said. "I think we’re going to need a combination of drugs ... that can impact most COVID-19 patients."