PharmAust (ASX:PAA) posted positive preliminary results in experiments aimed at inhibiting the virus that causes COVID-19.
PharmAust, which traditionally is focused on repurposing existing drugs for cancer therapy, is exploring the potential of monepantel, a drug traditionally used against gastrointestinal dead worms in sheep.
Experiments with monepantel and monepantel sulfone were undertaken by Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research on PharmAust’s behalf, testing the active ingredients’ effects on cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 in tissue culture. These tests demonstrated both infectivity and replication of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles can be suppressed by between 50% and 95% in cell cultures.
Virologists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute also demonstrated that in preliminary experiments, both monepantel and monepantel sulfone reduced the capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to replicate as well as the capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to mature into infectious virus particles.
In addition, relatively low concentrations of monepantel blocked the infectious capacity of SARS-CoV-2 in tissue culture.