Researchers from the University of Kent, the Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), and the Hannover Medical School (Germany) have identified a drug with the potential to provide a treatment for COVID-19.
The international team led by Professor Martin Michaelis, Dr Mark Wass (both School of Biosciences, University of Kent), and Professor Jindrich Cinatl (Institute of Medical Virology, Goethe-University) found that the approved protease inhibitor aprotinin displayed activity against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, in concentrations that are achieved in patients. Aprotinin inhibits the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells and may compensate for the loss of host cell protease inhibitors that are downregulated upon SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Aprotinin aerosols are approved in Russia for the treatment of influenza and could be readily tested for the treatment of COVID-19.
Professor Martin Michaelis said: "The aprotinin aerosol has been reported to be tolerated extremely well in influenza patients. Hence, it may have a particular potential to prevent severe COVID-19 disease when applied early after diagnosis."