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13 Oct 2020
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A research team led by Professor Hongzhe SUN, Norman & Cecilia Yip Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, and Professor Kwok Yung YUEN, Henry Fok Professor in Infectious Diseases, Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), has discovered a novel antiviral strategy for treatment of COVID-19. 


They discover a class of metallodrugs currently used in the treatment of other infectious diseases is showing efficacy to potently suppress SARS-CoV-2 replication and relieve viral-associated symptoms in an animal model.


The findings provide a new and readily available therapeutic option with high clinical potential for infection with SARS-CoV-2. This ground-breaking work has been published online in a top-class scientific journal Nature Microbiology. A related patent has been filed in the US.



SARS-CoV-2 is an emerging coronavirus that has caused globally over 30 million laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 including more than 1 million deaths since December 2019. While vaccine is still not available, the discovery and development of virus-specific antiviral drug could be one approach to treat or prevent infection caused by this novel coronavirus. Given the urgency and severity of the global pandemic, repurposing currently available drugs is the most practical route for the rapid identification of anti-COVID-19 agent. Remdesivir, a broad-spectrum antiviral drug, has been reported to show efficacy against SARS-CoV-2. However, the drug’s global shortage, relatively high price and lack of significant clinical benefits in patients with severe COVID-19 have so far limited its widespread use. Other ongoing clinical trials on a series of antiviral agents are demonstrating the big challenge to improve the clinical outcomes of patients. Therefore, more intense efforts are urgently needed to evaluate a wider spectrum of clinically approved drugs by alternative strategies.


For study method and findings, please find details in https://www.scifac.hku.hk/news/news-COVID-19-metallodrugs


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