With coronavirus cases around the world now at over 24 million, scientists have been working around the clock to develop a treatment.
Now, scientists from the University of Alberta claim that a drug designed for cats could protect humans from Covid-19.
The drug, called GC376 is used to treat cats from an illness called feline infectious peritonitis.
However, early studies have shown that the drug can also protect cats from Covid-19, indicating it could also be beneficial in humans.
Covid 19 Time Series
In their study, published in Nature Communications, the researchers, led by Wayne Vuong, wrote: “They are strong drug candidates for the treatment of human coronavirus infections because they have already been successful in animals.
“The work here lays the framework for their use in human trials for the treatment of COVID-19.”
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Feline infectious peritonitis is caused by another coronavirus, called feline enteric coronavirus (FCoV).
In the study, the researchers discovered that GC376 works by blocking an enzyme produced by FCoV, preventing the virus from reproducing.
Amazingly, tests revealed that GC376 can also prevent SARS-CoV-2 from replicating.
Best of all, the drugs did not appear to have any toxic side effects, indicating they could be safe for humans.
The researchers added: “Clearly, these drugs need to be advanced quickly into human trials for COVID-19.”