All Hands on Deck as Scientists Revive SARS Protease Inhibitor to Attempt to Fight COVID-19

As scientists around the globe race to find ways to treat COVID-19, the fastest approach to finding a treatment may be to repurpose existing drugs in the hopes of avoiding having to start from “square one” on the drug development pathway. There are dozens of existing drugs currently being evaluated for treating COVID-19 and its symptoms, ranging from a failed Ebola treatment to arthritis and diabetes medications.

In addition to evaluating its current portfolio of therapeutics for a compound that can treat COVID-19 and/or its symptoms, Pfizer scientists are working to revive a compound that they identified in 2003 as a potential treatment for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in China. The Pfizer compound was developed to inhibit a specific enzyme called a protease, produced by coronaviruses, which are responsible for causing SARS in 2003 and COVID-19 today.

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