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Repurposing Hepatitis C drugs could help those with COVID, Oak Ridge scientists say

Oak Ridge scientists say repurposing Hepatitis C drugs could help people with COVID-19. It has to do with the similarities between two enzymes.
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:39 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Oak Ridge scientists say repurposing Hepatitis C drugs could help people with COVID-19. It has to do with the similarities between two enzymes.

“You’re literally working during a war against the virus and against this disease and you see people around you getting sick and dying,” said Dr. Andrey Kovalesky.

For months, Dr. Andrey Kovalevsky and his team have been examining COVID-19 cells under a microscope down to a molecular level.

“We’re using our neutron sources so we’re looking at this protein with neutron crystallography to pinpoint locations of all of the atoms in the protein. Specifically what we do which is neutron crystallography, there are no labs in the USA, this is the one there is nothing else,” said Dr. Kovalesky.

Their findings discovered that several hepatitis C drugs can kill the virus. He says the drugs might need to be tweaked to make sure it works, but promising lab results will help medical companies know where to start.

“We can change these drugs to bind much much better because these drugs are clinical and have gone through all stages of drug development and that can take years,” said Kovalevsky.

Now medical companies can dedicate their resources to studying this research to create something to make people feel better.

“We may have a vaccine but we need to have another type of intervention of medicinal therapeutic intervention available so if some people do not take vaccine, if some people do not tolerate vaccine and they get sick even though they’re vaccinated which happens with every vaccine over there we need another type of therapeutic intervention available no matter if we have vaccine for this,” said Kovalevsky.

The scientists are helping aid the fight against this virus with each discovery.

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