Old Pancreatitis Drug May Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infections

Futhan nafamostat mesylate FUT-175 blocks coronavirus from entering human cells

scientists working on a durg to prevent Sars-cov-2 infections

University of Tokyo researchers say an old pancreatitis medication may be effective in blocking the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from infecting humans.

This is important news since SARS-CoV-2 is causing COVID-19 disease in people.

Led by Junichiro Inoue, professor at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science, and Assistant Prof. Mizuo Yamamoto of the Asian Institute for Infectious Diseases, said they discovered that the drug, nafamostat mesylate, may be able to block the coronavirus from entering human cells and then proliferating.

These researchers said in a press statement on March 18, 2020, ‘nafamostat has the potential to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection very effectively.’

Nafamostat is an enzyme inhibitor, which is typically used to prevent blood clots.

This team explained ‘using a membrane fusion assay system that can safely and quantitatively evaluate the fusion between a virus outer membrane and a cell membrane, nafamostat, a serine protease inhibitor, is 10 minutes longer than previously published fusion inhibitors.’

‘In order for SARS-CoV-2 to infect the human body, it is important that after binding to a receptor protein (ACE2 receptor) present on the cell surface, the fusion of the outer membrane of the virus and the cell membrane occurs.’ 

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‘In the case of coronavirus, the Spike protein (S protein) binds to the ACE2 receptor on the cell membrane of human cells, and is then cleaved by the proteolytic enzyme TMPRSS2 to activate the S protein.’

These researchers said they will start clinical tests with the National Center for Global Health and Medicine. Professor Inoue said they hope to start clinical tests soon and will consider combining it with other promising medications.

Four years ago, this research team released a study result that said nafamostat mesylate may be effective in treating the MERS virus, which is another type of coronavirus.

Nafamostat is a generic that has been approved for use in Japan for pancreatitis and other diseases.

The Japan-based company, Nichi-iko Pharmaceutical Co., produces nafamostat under the brand name Futhan.

SARS-CoV-2 medication news is published by Precision Vaccinations.