University of Alberta researchers studying a drug used on cats that could help treat COVID-19 in humans

Dr. Joanne Lemieux and her team are testing a drug used to treat feline infectious peritonitis, another coronavirus, to see if it can keep COVID-19 from replicating in human cells.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
June 18, 2020
Dr. Joanne Lemieux. Photo: CIHR.

What do we want? A cure for COVID-19! When do we want it? Meow!

A team of health researchers at the University of Alberta, led by Dr. Joanne Lemieux, is looking to the internet’s favourite animal for a potentially lifesaving treatment for COVID-19. Specifically, they are studying an antiviral drug used to cure cats infected with the deadly disease feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which is caused by a strain of feline enteric coronavirus. In a study done several years ago, the drug blocked that virus’s ability to replicate in cats’ cells, stopping the growth of the disease and saving the lives of most of the study subjects.

Now, Dr. Lemieux and her team want to see if the drug can achieve similar results against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. They are testing it on infected cells in the lab now and hope to be able to start clinical human trials shortly, since the drug has already been proven to be safe for use on our feline friends.

Source: Canadian Institutes of Health Research



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