A worker weighs drugs at the workshop of a pharmaceutical company in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province, on Feb. 3, 2020. (File photo: Xinhua)
Israeli researchers have found that derivatives of two Gaucher's disease drugs are effective against coronavirus, the defense ministry said Tuesday.
Gaucher's disease is caused by a deficiency of an enzyme that breaks down lipids in the cells, leading to impairment of body function, limb enlargement and bone pain.
In a study conducted by Israel's Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) and published in bioRxiv preprint platform, the researchers examined the existing drug Cerdelga, as well as another drug that is currently in advanced stages of approval.
According to the ministry, the derivatives of both drugs significantly reduce the replication capacity of coronavirus, as replication causes the destruction and mortality of the infected human cell.
This decrease in the replication capacity prevents cell damage after infection.
The experiments were conducted in cell cultures and are currently being tested for efficacy on animals.
Both drugs were previously found effective on animals against other virus strains such as influenza and West Nile viruses, indicating that they may also be effective against future outbreaks of new viruses.
IIBR, a governmental institute founded in 1952, deals with applied research in the fields of biology, microbiology, medical chemistry, natural sciences and environmental sciences.