In a new study, health experts have found five genes, which are linked to the most fatal COVID19 infection. They have discovered many easily available drugs that can be repurposed to people who are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with severe COVID19. Experts have looked at the DNA of 2700 people who have been diagnosed with the pandemic disease and have been admitted to 208 intensive care units in the UK. They have found that at least five genes that are involved in two molecular functions, antiviral immunity, and lung inflammation, are prone to severe COVID19. The co-author of the study and a scientist from Critical care Medicine at Edinburgh University Kenneth Baillie has said that they have been able to identify some drugs, which should be on the top list for clinical testing.
Scientists have said that there five genes are known as IFNAR2, TYK2, OAS1, DPP9, and CCR2. The study has shown that these genes might explain why some people fall critically ill due to COVID19 infection and some are not affected much. The lead author of the research has said that the findings of the study will help scientists to look for potential drugs and perform clinical tests of drugs, which directly target particular antiviral and anti-inflammatory pathways. The author has said that among most potential drugs, a category of anti-inflammatory drugs known as JAK inhibitors might be quite potent. JAK inhibitors include arthritis medicine called Baricitinib. The team of experts has said that an increase in the activity of the INFAR2 gene might be able to provide immunity against severe COVID19. A boost in the activity of this gene imitates the impact of treatment with interferon. The findings of the new study have been published in the journal Nature.
There are many drugs, which are being tested in clinical trials for their efficacy against COVID19. These drugs are Interferon Beta-1a, Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist, and Sanofi’s arthritis drug called Kevzara. As of now, only two drugs called dexamethasone and the new antiviral drug remdesivir made by Gilead have been approved across the world for treating patients with COVID19. However, remdesivir is not advised to be used for a severe form of COVID19. In the clinical trial, it has been proved moderately effective. The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of antiviral drug Bamlanivimab for patients who might be at risk of developing serious COVID19 due to their age but have not been admitted to hospital.