New Delhi, October 11: Existing drugs used to treat diabetes, obesity and ageing can potentially be used to treat COVID-19, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have found.
The team has recently published a review of the biomolecular relationships among COVID-19, ageing and diabetes. The review has been published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and offers insight into future directions in COVID-19 therapeutics. Also Read | Tesla Starts Rolling Out Full Self-Driving Beta 10.2 Software: Report.
"With the nearly two-year-long COVID-19 pandemic continuing to ravage the world, we are beginning to slowly understand the virus and its functioning. It is now known that the effects of the viral infection are severe on aging population and people with existing diabetic conditions. Also Read | Rajasthan Horror: Minor Girl Raped By Cousin In Jaipur; Case Registered.
"There are studies being conducted worldwide on the effects of aging and diabetes on the short and long term outcomes of the COVID-19 infection," Amjad Husain, Chief Executive Officer, Innovation and Incubation Center for Entrepreneurship (IICE), IISER Bhopal said.
The published review shows that at the molecular level, there are intersecting pathways that are common to diabetes, aging, and COVID-19. All three conditions are associated with oxidative stress and lowering of the immune response and complications arising from them lead to the onset of numerous other diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, eye diseases, neuropathy (nerve diseases), and nephropathy (kidney problems).
The researchers believe that an ideal therapeutic candidate for COVID-19 should be able to target the pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing and the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
"There are classes of compounds such as polyphenols found in plant-based food, curcumin (found in turmeric), and resveratrol (found in grapes), have been shown to not only slow down the ageing process but also possess anti-viral properties," said Husain.
Some other polyphenols that the researchers have identified as being useful for both COVID-19 treatment and comorbidity conditions such as diabetes and ageing may include catechins (present in green tea, cocoa and berries), procyanidins (found in apples, cinnamon and grape skin), and theaflavin (found in black tea).
"We also have evidence of some existing potential anti-aging drugs such as Rapamycin that can be explored for the COVID-19 treatment because of the common biochemical pathways associated with these diseases. Another such example is a drug Metformin which is usually used to control blood sugar," he said.
The scientists have also performed computational studies to show that lipids present in cell membranes play an important role in coronavirus infectivity. Natural compounds such as polyphenols may affect the binding of the virus to host receptors and the molecular interactions required for virus replication and release, thereby stopping the infection in its early stages.
"There is an urgent need to shortlist effective therapeutics from the existing pool of potential compounds as the time taken to discover a new drug and its approval takes longer," said the lead researcher.
The scientists believe that natural compounds such as curcumin and resveratrol, among others, and existing drugs such as metformin and Rapamyci have potential to get tested extensively for the treatment of COVID-19 and post-coronavirus syndrome.
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