Defense Ministry: Analogs of Gaucher’s Drugs Effective Against COVID-19

YERUSHALAYIM -
President Reuven Rivlin (C) and then-Defense Minister Naftali Bennett (L) at the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Ziona on May 7. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Research conducted by the Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) indicates that the analogs of two drugs designed to treat Gaucher’s disease are effective against coronavirus. In addition, they may be effective in dealing with new viruses, the Israeli Defense Ministry reported.

One of the substances tested is a derivative of the Cerdelga, which has FDA approval. The second drug is in advanced approval stages.

Treatment of a new disease such as COVID-19 with a known, FDA-approved drug effectively bypasses the problem of time needed for research, the Nes Ziona-based IIBR explained.

In tests of the aforementioned drugs on cell cultures, a significant reduction in the replication capacity of the coronavirus was observed. This diminished process prevents cell damage after infection with the Coronavirus. At present, the drugs are being evaluated as treatments for animals infected with COVID-19.

These drugs were found to be effective against a number of different strains of viruses, including influenza viruses and West Nile fever, the IIBR noted, which is a further indication that they can potentially treat other viral diseases, if clinically approved.

Gaucher disease is brought on by fatty buildups in the spleen, liver and other organs, causing them to enlarge and potentially affecting their function. The fatty substances can also build up in bones and weaken them.