Researchers say drug tested at UNC was found to effectively treat and prevent COVID-19 in mice

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health say an orally administered experimental drug has proven effective at preventing and treating COVID-19 in mice in a lab setting.

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According to the scientists, the drug, EIDD-2801, halts SARS-CoV-2 replication and prevents infection of human cells in mice that are engineered to have human lung tissue.

The work was published Tuesday in Nature.

The scientists said they found that the drug was extremely effective at preventing and treating infection in the mice. Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate EIDD-2801 safety in humans and its effect on transmission from person to person in COVID-19 patients.

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"We found that EIDD-2801 had a remarkable effect on virus replication after only two days of treatment - a dramatic, more than 25,000-fold reduction in the number of infectious particles in human lung tissue when treatment was initiated 24 hours post-exposure," said senior author J. Victor Garcia, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the International Center for the Advancement of Translational Science, in a written statement. "Virus titers were significantly reduced by 96% when treatment was started 48 hours post-exposure."

The drug is not yet FDA-approved or authorized as a COVID-19 treatment.
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