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UCSF Scientists Identify Drugs That May Slow COVID-19

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UCSF Parnassus



A new UCSF study identifies several medications that could help manage the novel coronavirus.

A team of scientists have pinpointed drugs that could slow the growth of COVID-19, including some that are already FDA-approved for other uses. Their findings were published today in the scientific journal "Nature."

The UCSF-led team studied how 75 different drug compounds interact with the coronavirus. They found a range of drugs that slowed its growth in the lab, including an over-the-counter allergy medication called clemastine, the schizophrenia treatment haloperidol, and the hormone progesterone.

One of the drugs the scientists studied was hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug that has been touted by President Trump. They found that while it inhibits the virus, it also interferes with an essential protein that regulates heart function — and that could cause serious side effects.

Researchers also found that the common cough medicine dextromethorphan may actually speed up coronavirus growth.

The scientists say you shouldn’t use any of these medications right now if you’re not already taking them, because they don’t know exactly how these lab results will play out in humans. First, they’ll need to do clinical trials to figure out if any of the drugs will be safe and effective.

Ozzy Llinas Goodman is a freelance writer and journalist based in Berkeley. Their reporting interests include the uses and policing of public space, underground communities and solidarity economies, and other topics related to human movement, urban space, and civil rights.