Indian researchers and scientists have identified drugs and possible cocktails that can target essential proteins of the COVID-19 and can help treat coronavirus infection.
Through virtual screening of the DrugBank database, research published in the journal “Scientific Reports” found a variety of undeveloped and unexplored methods can be used to attack SARS-CoV-2, even during mutations.
According to reports, the Drugbank database is a chemical space of FDA-approved compounds and molecules in drug trials.
Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and Alagappa University in Tamil Nadu put forward a list of individual drugs and possible cocktails that should be treated for novel coronavirus infection.
The researchers said that the key part of this research is to identify drugs that target or bind to multiple proteins that are necessary for the virus replication and are also involved in the initial phases of host cell infection.
According to the study done by authors, Arul Murugan and Vaibhav Srivastava, multi-targeting provides an effective way to deal with drug resistance, which will allow drugs to work around the virus mutations.
Vaibhav Srivastava said: The virus is mutating rapidly, which means it is modifying its protein. If we have a drug/vaccine that can target several proteins, and if one drug is mutated, the drug will be effective on other proteins.
This quality allowed the organization to propose cocktails with versatility.
He said: It was possible for us to propose cocktails or drugs, in which each drug can bind to a specific target protein with high affinity.
His statement comes when India recorded more than 97,67,373 coronavirus cases in the country. The death toll in India also exceeded 1,41,773.
Among the 9.7 million coronavirus cases, the total number of active coronavirus cases in India has exceeded 3,72,295. The total number of discharged COVID-19 cases has exceeded 92,53,307.
The research proposed a cocktail, RU85053, baloxavir–marboxil, and natamycin, which target three viral proteins, namely 3CL Main protease, papain-like protease, and RdRp.
The researchers pointed out that these drug cocktails have been shown to be effective in treating other virally transmitted diseases, such as HIV.
Murugan said: the reliability of their method was confirmed by the fact that screening can also identify drugs that are already in clinical trials.
Researchers said that such studies can provide valuable insights into why certain drugs are ineffective.
For example, the hydroxychloroquine drug is ineffective, mainly because of its poor binding affinity to viral proteins, they stated.
The other drugs recommended for testing in this study are zoliflodacin, tivantinib, olaparib, golvatinib, regorafenib, sonidegib, and PCO-371.
The study also listed multi-targeting drugs, such as DB04016, tadalafil, and phthalocyanine, which can also be effective against rapidly mutating coronavirus.
In addition to this, India is also actively considering two other candidate vaccines-one developed by the SII or Serum Institute of India in cooperation with Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and the other developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
Both Bharat Biotech and SII are currently conducting phase three trials of their respective vaccine candidates in the nation.
The CDSCO’s (Central Drug Standards Control Organization) Subject Matter Expert Committee for coronavirus is reviewing the application of SII, Pfizer, and Bharat biotechnology.
Meanwhile, the country is considering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine after the US pharmaceutical giant sought the emergency use authorization here.
The Union Minister appended: Under strict supervision, we ensure that we do not compromise on the scientific and regulatory norms, stretching from the safety of trials to the effectiveness of vaccines.
The world-class research institutions of India took the lead in spearheaded a campaign against the COVID-19 and are currently working to promote capacity building for the production, distribution, and administration of vaccines. There are a total of 260 vaccine candidates in different stages of development worldwide, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
He said: Eight of them are planned to be manufactured in India, including three indigenous ones. We, enthusiastically, leveraged the support of international partners such as Oxford University, the UK, and Thomas Jefferson University, the US to conduct vaccine research with Indian entities, both private and public.
Besides this, unlike the regular immunization drive that requires hundreds of people to be vaccinated every day, the government’s Covid-19 vaccination plan states that each site can only give 100 anti-corona shots per day.
Community halls and makeshift tents can be vaccinated at a later stage. From specialized hospitals for the AEFI (adverse events following immunization) to identifying specific vaccination sites that meet covid inoculation requirements, states are strengthening infrastructure in accordance with the SOP issued by the Ministry of Health.
According to the draft SOP shared with the states, there will be five vaccination officers at each vaccination site, including one guard and three rooms, each for waiting, vaccination, and observation.
Here are the latest updates on Coronavirus Vaccines in India:
1) Sputnik V: India has acquired over 90 million doses of Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine candidates. The Sputnik V vaccine has developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Microbiology, and Epidemiology, and the RDIF (Russian Direct Investment Fund). Dr. Reddy’s laboratory and Sputnik LLC are conducting human trials in India.
2) Pfizer: The Indian arm of the American pharmaceutical company sought emergency use endorsement for its coronavirus vaccine from the central drug regulatory authority days back after obtained the license in the UK and Bahrain. The pharmaceutical giant has sought permission in its application to import the vaccine for sale and distribution in India.
3) India’s First mRNA Vaccine: A vaccine developed by the Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. has become India’s first home-made mRNA candidate approved for human clinical trials. The government said in an official statement: HGCO19 (the official name of the vaccine) can be stable for two months at 2-8 degrees Celsius.
4) Serum Institute of India’s Covishield: Pune-based SII has already applied for emergency use authorization of vaccine in India, which is called Covishield. SII head Adar Poonawalla recently stated that the company plans to produce up to 10 million doses of Oxford University’s AstraZeneca vaccine starting next year.
5) Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin: Earlier this month, the Hyderabad-based company sought an emergency permit from the Drug Controller General of India for its indigenously produced coronavirus vaccine ‘Covaxin’. Covaxin is being developed by Bharat Biotech in cooperation with the Indian Council of Medical Research.
6) Zydus Cadila: Zydus Cadila received Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approval earlier this month to begin Phase 3 clinical trials with its PegiHep biological therapy in the patients suffering from coronavirus infection. The company performed Phase 2 clinical trials with PegiHep last month.
In India, the Union Ministry of Health has stated that it is expected to receive vaccines against the deadly COVID-19 infection within a few weeks.