AUG 16, 2020 1:29 PM PDT

Could Cat Drugs Treat COVID-19 in Humans?

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

While COVID-19 may not affect cats much, felines are known to contract another kind of coronavirus that can sometimes be fatal. Now, early research has shown that the same drugs that can be used on cats to treat this disease may also help people suffering from COVID-19. 

The virus they treat in cats, known as ‘feline enteric coronavirus’ (FeCV) affects the gastrointestinal tract. While it rarely causes symptoms, in about one in 10% of cats, it mutates after infection and begins to infiltrate immune cells where it then causes havoc in the body and sets off severe inflammation. At this point, the infection is called ‘feline infectious peritonitis virus’ and is often fatal if left untreated. 

In lab experiments, researchers found that one drug, known as GC376, disables an enzyme that some coronaviruses use to replicate- including SARS-CoV-2. Based on these findings, and the fact that the drug has already been shown as safe and effective in cats, the company behind the drug, Anivive Lifesciences, is now working to develop clinical trials in people. 

Meanwhile, the other drug known to be effective in cats, called GS-441524, is an antiviral cousin of remdesivir, a drug known to accelerate recovery times in people suffering from COVID-19. Similar in structure, remdesivir differs from GS-441524 as it has an extra part that better enables it to enter cells. 

In a study in 2018, researchers demonstrated that GS-441524 not only inhibited viral replication in lab-grown cells but also successfully treated 10 out of 10 cats with feline infectious peritonitis virus. In a separate study from 2019, researchers then showed that treatment with the drug for at least 12 weeks left 25 out of 26 cats surviving the disease.

In July this year, a study also found the same drug was able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication in lab-grown monkey and human cells. However, while remdesivir is already on its way to full FDA approval, GS-441524 has yet to be trialed in humans. Nevertheless, Gilead, the company behind both this drug and remdesivir has said it has begun preclinical studies to compare the drugs. 

Although it is still unknown whether GS-441524 or GC376 will be effective in humans against COVID-19, the drugs exemplify the connections between animal and human health, and how knowledge of both, could accelerate the finding of treatments in either species.  

 

Sources: Science NewsLive Science

 

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
SEP 07, 2020
Microbiology
How THC Can Help Relieve a Respiratory Disorder
SEP 07, 2020
How THC Can Help Relieve a Respiratory Disorder
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs when fluid builds up in the sacs in the lungs that hold air, and the l ...
SEP 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
New Drug May Allow Astronauts to Spend Years in Space
SEP 08, 2020
New Drug May Allow Astronauts to Spend Years in Space
Without gravity from Earth, muscles and bones tend to weaken quickly. To combat this, astronauts usually need to spend t ...
SEP 20, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Revealing the Structure of Hallucinogens Bound to Their Receptor
SEP 20, 2020
Revealing the Structure of Hallucinogens Bound to Their Receptor
Recent studies have demonstrated that hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline have therapeutic potentia ...
SEP 27, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
THC Shows Promise in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19
SEP 27, 2020
THC Shows Promise in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19
Over the last few months, various headlines have emerged suggesting the potential for cannabinoids, and in particular, c ...
OCT 03, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Compound Prevents Colon Cancer in Mice
OCT 03, 2020
Cannabis Compound Prevents Colon Cancer in Mice
Second only to skin cancer, colon cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the US. Now, resea ...
OCT 12, 2020
Cancer
Targeting Energy Production in Cells to Fight Leukemia
OCT 12, 2020
Targeting Energy Production in Cells to Fight Leukemia
Much like how a car needs gasoline to run, cells also need a fuel source. Most human cells in the body use oxidative pho ...
Loading Comments...