Existing drugs are fastest way to fight COVID-19, scientists say

Repurposing existing drugs will likely be a quicker way to combat the COVID-19 pandemic than a vaccine, some scientists have argued in a paper published May 7 in the British Journal of Pharmacology. 

Researchers said that while finding an effective vaccine and getting it to the market will likely take more than a year, repurposing drugs already approved could be a much faster way to treat and prevent COVID-19 infection, CNBC reported. 

The researchers said physicians will likely need to use a combination of several different drugs and suggested scientists trial drugs that target parts of human cells that the COVID-19 virus attaches itself to. 

"Any drug to treat COVID-19 will need to focus on the three key stages of infection: preventing the virus entering our cells in the first place, stopping it replicating if it gets inside the cells, and reducing the damage that occurs to our tissues, in this case, the lungs and heart," Anthony Davenport, one of the study's researchers, told CNBC

The researchers said Gilead's drug, remdesivir, is a "promising candidate," and stressed the importance of moving quickly to identify other potential drugs, according to CNBC

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