Scientists Find 69 Drugs and Compounds Potentially Effective Against COVID-19

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
March 24, 2020 Updated: March 24, 2020

Researchers have identified dozens of drugs and compounds, some experimental and others already approved by health authorities, that may be effective in combating the CCP virus.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mishandling allowed the virus to spread throughout China and spark a global pandemic.

In a preprint study not yet peer-reviewed, published on March 22 on bioRxiv, the research team indicated it found hundreds of “high confidence” interactions between SARS-CoV-2 virus proteins and druggable human proteins.

Epoch Times Photo
This scanning electron microscope image, published on Feb. 13, 2020, shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—which the Epoch Times refers to as the CCP virus—the pathogen that causes COVID-19. The virus was isolated from a patient in the United States and is seen emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab. (Courtesy of NIAID-RML)

Nearly 70 substances, including both drugs in clinical trials and those already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as preclinical compounds, have the potential to impact the virus, the team found.

“Among these, we identify 66 druggable human proteins or host factors targeted by 69 existing FDA-approved drugs, drugs in clinical trials and/or preclinical compounds, that we are currently evaluating for efficacy in live SARS-CoV-2 infection assays,” the team wrote.

The fact that the human proteins, or host factors, are impacted by existing drugs and experimental compounds makes it more likely to identify “effective molecular targets” that potential antiviral therapeutics based on these drugs or compounds could hit.

“The identification of host dependency factors mediating virus infection may provide key insights into effective molecular targets for developing broadly acting antiviral therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2 and other deadly coronavirus strains,” the researchers concluded.

The list includes chloroquine, which kills a parasite that causes malaria. The drug can also interact with a human protein called the sigma-1 receptor, the same one the CCP virus attacks.

Epoch Times Photo
3D print of a spike protein of SARS-CoV-2—which The Epoch Times refers to as the CCP virus, the pathogen that causes COVID-19—in front of a 3D print of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle. The spike protein (foreground) enables the virus to enter and infect human cells. On the virus model, the virus surface (blue) is covered with spike proteins (red) that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells. (Courtesy of NIAID/RML)


President Donald Trump has referred to chloroquine optimistically in terms of potential effectiveness against the virus.

Chloroquine, or hydroxychloroquine, is approved by the FDA for treatment of malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, but not for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus.

Last week, the FDA approved chloroquine and remdesivir to treat patients with COVID-19 under the “compassionate use” framework.

This lets doctors use experimental treatments or medications that have been approved for other ailments to treat COVID-19 patients. Under this model, medical practitioners are required to share all patient info regarding administration of and response to the drug, thereby helping inform ongoing trials and regulatory initiatives.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the drug’s potential effectiveness against the virus was based anecdotal evidence and that clinical trials were needed to bear out the hypothesis.

Trump listens to Fauci
President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, answers a question about the virus and the current U.S. outbreak during a news briefing at the White House in Washington, on March 16, 2020. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, told CBS News that the study that looked at chloroquine involved around 20 patients, and only six cases saw benefit.

“And the benefit that they showed was that they decrease the amount of virus in their noses when you did nasal swabs in those patients,” Gottlieb said. “So it could very well be that the drug is reducing viral shedding, but having no impact on the clinical course of those patients. So the data on that is very preliminary.”

Still, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that the state had obtained a large quantity of chloroquine and would be proceeding with trial use of the drug.

Speaking at a briefing at New York City’s Javits Center on Tuesday, Cuomo said COVID-19 was spreading in the region like a “bullet train.”

“New York is the canary in the coal mine, New York is happening first, what is happening to New York will happen to California and Illinois, it is just a matter of time,” Cuomo said.

He also said New York would be experimenting with splitting ventilators, of which the state needs at least 30,000 more, and which for some patients will “make the difference between life and death.”

“We haven’t flattened the curve,” he said. “The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought. That is a bad combination of facts.”

Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'