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Promising Antiviral

Promising oral drug against COVID-19 disease and viral burden

04 May 2021

Promising Antiviral

The number of people vaccinated against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 – shown here bursting out of a cell – is on the rise. But, because so many of the world’s populace has yet to receive a jab and because no vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing infection, scientists are still hard at work developing medicines to add to the clinical armoury for fighting the virus. One such drug that has shown promising results recently is the rather uninspiringly named MK-4482 – a molecule that mimics a crucial building block of the virus and interferes with its replication. When given to rodents infected with SARS-CoV-2, the drug, now in human trials, was highly effective at reducing the viral burden and disease damage in the animals’ lungs. Moreover, unlike the currently used antiviral medication remdesivir, administered by injection, MK-4482 is taken by mouth meaning patients with COVID-19 could be treated faster and more easily.

Written by Ruth Williams

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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