The World Laureates Association Shanghai Center has discovered that an iminosugar drug called Zavesca, which made its market debut two decades ago, and two other iminosugar drug molecules currently undergoing clinical trials are expected to inhibit the novel coronavirus.
Developed by the Oxford Glycobiology Institute, the three products have been used for the treatment of hepatitis B, dengue and influenza.
The main purpose of iminosugar drug molecules is to interfere with the production of new viruses in host cells, hence destroying the virus. This mechanism would theoretically have the same effect in inhibiting the novel coronavirus, according to leading scientists from the Oxford Glycobiology Institute.
Among the scientists is Raymond Dwek, the director of the institute. Dwek has more than two decades of experience in the development of coronavirus control therapies.
If the drug is confirmed to be effective in combating the novel coronavirus, a clinical treatment plan can be designed within a month under optimal conditions, said the WLA Shanghai Center, a collaboration between the Hong Kong-based World Laureates Association and the Shanghai government.
"We're making all possible efforts to coordinate resources worldwide to push forward the research regarding this possible therapy," the center said.
The finding was a result of the center's efforts to gather top scientists and resources from around the world to aid its investigation into the novel coronavirus since the outbreak of the virus in late January.