Cincinnati University researcher cautions against using Remdesivir to treat Coronavirus 19.
While vaccines are used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, drugs are also required to treat the hospitalized patients. Remdesivir is particularly unusual in that it is the first and only antiviral of its kind to be approved by the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA has previously approved for the analysis of COVID-19.
However, a recent report by University of Cincinnati researchers suggests that these antiviral drugs are being used too generously.
The report appears in the journal, “Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology”.
Remdesivir, marketed as Veklury, obtained emergency approval from the FDA in May for use in the COVID-19 trial, and full approval in October.
The World Health Organization released a conditional recommendation in November 2020, recommending against the use of the drug completely: “More research is needed, particularly to provide higher certainty of evidence for specific groups of patients.”
In the UC report, lead author Bingfang Yan found that the drug permanently halts the activity of an enzyme called CES-2, which is found in the intestine, liver and kidney and is required for drug metabolism.
“This enzyme normally breaks down drugs in certain antiviral drugs and activates them or inactivates other drugs such as in certain anticoagulants,” says Yan, a professor in the School of Pharmacy.
The Watson School of Pharmacy. In the other hand, people may also be weakened by the same drugs, as in heart medications and cancer medications.
An antiviral drug is a medicine used against viruses, and an anticoagulant is a medication that helps to avoid blood clots.
What complicates matters more, Yan says, is that remdesivir, when given via an IV, does not cure the virus unless the body has additional unique enzymes that are not present in all patients.
Taking other antiviral drugs when taking the flu vaccine could result in them not working properly.
Remdesivir is only given in the hospital by intravenous catheters. The FDA usually recommends a dosage of one time per day for 10 days. “Intravenous injection of remdesivir can raise safety concerns because of the high initial concentrations of the drug in the system,” Yan explains. “If physicians use it, they need to use it with caution.”
He recommends the technique be used with caution in the right patients and in conjunction with other medications in acceptable dosages.
The reference “Remdesivir potently inhibits carboxylesterase-2 through covalent modifications: signifying strong drug-drug interactions” by Yue Shen, William Eades, and Bingfang Yan, December 28, 2020, Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology.
Yan’s lab investigates levels of drugs in the blood and how they are metabolized in the body to decide whether a person can take the drug at a different dose or not. He has obtained funding support from NIH for decades.