Aplidin, also known as Plitidepsin, is 27.5 times more potent than remdesivir. Picture: Susana Vera/Reuters
Aplidin, also known as Plitidepsin, is 27.5 times more potent than remdesivir. Picture: Susana Vera/Reuters

Scientists identify potentially new Covid-19 ’wonder drug’

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Jan 27, 2021

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Cape Town - There’s a new hope for a more effective treatment for Covid-19, after a team of US and French scientists identified a drug that is more effective in treating the coronavirus than Remdesivir.

According to a peer-reviewed study, published in the Science journal on Monday, a drug called Aplidin, also known as Plitidepsin, is 27.5 times more potent than remdesivir.

Unlike Remdesivir, rather than attacking the virus, scientists say the drug could prevent a specific protein inside human cells from replicating the virus. Remdesivir is the only treatment globally approved to treat Covid-19.

This drug, which scientists believe can dramatically reduce the impact of Covid-19, is found in the waters around the Spanish island of Ibiza and is extracted from an exotic marine creature called Aplidium albicans, a type of “sea squirt” found off the coast of Ibiza that looks a bit like a disembodied brain.

The researchers says the drug should be considered for clinical trials based on their vivo study results.

“We believe that our data and the initial positive results from PharmaMar’s clinical trial suggests that plitidepsin should be strongly considered for expanded clinical trials for the treatment of Covid-19,” the study noted.

Aplidin, approved in Australia for treating multiple myeloma, has been developed as a potential Covid-19 treatment by the Spanish drug company PharmaMar.

The drug has gone through a Phase II clinical trial against Covid-19 and is awaiting the start of Phase III testing. It comes from sea squirts, marine creatures that look like plants and have tubular openings allowing them to draw in and expel water.

Several drugs and drug combinations are under study across the world as effective Covid therapies.

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