Teicoplanin, an antibiotic, could be potential medicine for Covid-19: IIT Delhi research

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Teicoplanin, an antibiotic medicine, may be a potential option for treating coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, according to a research conducted by scientists at Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS) in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi.

In laboratory experiments, the medicine effectively inhibited the activity of the 3CLpro enzyme that is needed for replication of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.

The medicine was found to be up to 20 times more effective in inhibiting the activity of 3CLpro than some of the medicines that have been used in Covid-19 patients such as anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Chloroquine, antibiotic Azithromycin, and anti-Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) medicine Lopinavir.

Also Read: Covid-19: India’s tests per million population cross 50k-mark

“Covid-19 has affected millions of people across the world and there is no specific treatment for the viral infection. We have been working for the last seven to eight months to find possible treatment for the infection. We started looking at drugs that are already approved and are in the market. If found effective, these drugs will be available for the treatment of Covid-19 patients,” said Dr Ashok Patel, assistant professor at KSBS, IIT-Delhi.

Earlier, KSBS was the first academic institute to develop a novel and cheaper reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kit to conduct a Covid-19 test.

The researchers decided to make the 3CLpro enzyme that they knew was the key for viral replication because a biosafety level (BSL)-3 laboratory—a requirement for any institute wanting to work on the Sars-CoV-2 virus—was not available.

They found a way around to conduct the research about the virus that enters a human body and replicates within cells to cause Covid-19.

Also Read: Moderna Covid-19 vaccine appears safe, shows signs of working in older adults: Study

“We created a list of about 100 existing medicines that we thought could attack the captain of the cricket team, the 3CLpro protease (enzyme) that is crucial for viral replication. After testing, we found 11 molecules that were responding to this viral protein, which included the medicines already in use such as Azithromycin, Chloroquine, Lopinavir and even Oseltamivir that are used to treat H1N1, or swine flu. But, Teicoplanin turned out to be upto 20 times more effective than the other medicines,” said Dr Patel.

The researchers collaborated with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, for some advanced testing.

“Unlike HCQ, which is harmful for the heart, there aren’t any major side-effects of Teicoplanin,” he said. The institute did not have ethical clearance for human trials. However, these trials would be needed to prove that the medicine is, indeed, effective in treating the viral infection, he added.

“Teicoplanin is an approved broad spectrum antibiotic that is given to patients, especially in critical care, for various reasons. It is an interesting finding. However, viral culture studies and small human trials have to be conducted before it can be approved for an off-label use, which refers to a use of a medicine

Americans over 30 have been drinking more during the coronavirus pandemic, research shows

Americans over 30 have been drinking more during the coronavirus pandemic compared to this time last year, and there could be consequences to their physical and mental health, researchers reported Tuesday.

a group of people in a store: A customer gets rung out at Friendly Discount liquor store in Westbrook on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

© Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images
A customer gets rung out at Friendly Discount liquor store in Westbrook on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Overall frequency of alcohol consumption increased by about 14% from 2019, the researchers reported in the journal JAMA Network Open. That increase averages out to about one additional drinking day per month by 75% of adults.

RAND Corporation sociologist Michael Pollard and colleagues analyzed a nationally representative sample of 1,540 people ages 30 to 80. The participants completed a survey about their drinking habits between April 29 and June 9 of 2019 and then again between May 28 and June 16 of 2020.

The volunteers reported they drank alcohol on more days every week. They also reported increases in the number of drinks they had; the number of heavy drinking days; and the number of alcohol related problems over the last 30 days between 2019 and 2020.

Frequency of drinking increased by 17% among women, 19% among people aged 30 to 59 and by 10% among White people.

Heavy drinking among women increased by 41% — about one additional day of heavy drinking for one in every five women. Nearly one in 10 women, or 39%, reported an increase in alcohol-related problems, the researchers found.

“At times of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviors, mental health issues and violence,” the World Health Organization said in April.

The researchers say it’s important to watch for whether the increases in alcohol consumption persist over the pandemic, and whether there will be physical and mental health consequences as a result.

A dangerous combination

The uptick in drinking among adults isn’t necessarily a surprise. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Director Dr. George Koob said that the US has seen similar increases in alcohol consumption during other times of crisis, like after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and some recent hurricanes.

However, the increase in drinking during this crisis could be especially dangerous. Experts say it may actually increase the risk of Covid-19 spread and severe illness.

Not only is alcohol often consumed in crowded settings, like bars and parties, said Koob; it lowers a person’s inhibitions, making it more likely people will allow close contact and talk more, raising the likelihood they could spread the virus.

Excessive alcohol use has been linked to a weakened immune system and other negative health effects, also.

“About half the people that have acute respiratory distress syndrome are individuals who have misused alcohol,” said Koob. “We worry that if you’re drinking excessively, that could set you up, if you contract the virus, with a more severe respiratory problem.”

Substance use issues could be on the rise

Experts are also concerned about substance use disorder. Increasing levels of alcohol consumption and sales indicate a rise could

Research From House At ICS Learn (Worldwide Correspondence Faculty)

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