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A new antiviral drug heading into clinical trials offers hope for COVID-19 treatment — in part because it can be taken as a pill

by University Communications

Scientists are hopeful that a new drug, called EIDD-2801, could change the way doctors treat COVID-19. The drug shows promise in reducing lung damage, has finished testing in mice and will soon move to human clinical trials.

As of April 6, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 1 million people with COVID-19 and caused more than 70,000 deaths in a worldwide pandemic. Currently, no antiviral drugs have been approved to treat SARS-CoV-2 or any of the other coronaviruses that cause human disease.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health are playing a key role in the development and testing of EIDD-2801. Virologists in the lab of William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of epidemiology Ralph Baric are working with colleagues in the lab of Mark Denison, Edward Claiborne Stahlman Professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), and with George Painter, chief executive officer of the nonprofit DRIVE (Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory) and director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development (EIDD), where EIDD-2801 was discovered.

The results of the team’s most recent study were published online April 6 by the journal Science Translational Medicine.


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