Two Currently Available Medications – an Antifungal and an Antidepressant – May Help Protect Against COVID-19

New research published in the British Journal of Pharmacology indicates that two currently available medications — an antifungal drug and an antidepressant — can effectively inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19 in laboratory cells.

Investigators found that the antifungal itraconazole and the antidepressant fluoxetine each blocked the production of infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus in cell culture lab tests. When either drug was used in combination with the antiviral drug remdesiver, the combination showed synergistic effects and inhibited the production of SARS-CoV-2 by more than 90%.

“Preventive vaccination and therapeutic medicines against COVID-19 are both required to effectively combat pandemics caused by emerging zoonotic viruses such as SARS-CoV-2,” said senior author Ursula Rescher, PhD, of the University of Muenster, in Germany.

Reference: “Drug synergy of combinatory treatment with remdesivir and the repurposed drugs fluoxetine and itraconazole effectively impairs SARS‐CoV‐2 infection in vitro” by Sebastian Schloer, Linda Brunotte, Angeles Mecate‐Zambrano, Shuyu Zheng, Jing Tang, Stephan Ludwig and Ursula Rescher, 6 April 2021, British Journal of Pharmacology.
DOI: 10.1111/bph.15418

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