Virologists at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium have tested the effectiveness of two drugs popular in use against coronavirus: hydroxychloroquine and favipiravir. The test results, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the former is useless in the fight against COVID-19, while the latter is effective only in high doses. This was announced in a press release on MedicalXpress.
The researchers infected SARS-CoV-2 hamsters in two ways: one animal was injected with a large dose of the virus in the nose, and others were placed in the same cage with the infected animal. Medication was started one hour before direct infection or the day before contact with an infected hamster. Four days after contact or dose of the pathogen, the level of virus in the body was measured in the animals.
Hydroxychloroquine did not work, and scientists do not recommend further research on this drug as an anti-coronavirus drug. However, high doses of favipiravir, used in Japan to treat influenza, have reduced the virus levels in animals to almost zero. Low doses did not have the same effect.
Further research will need to determine if people can tolerate high doses of favipiravir, and if it will be as effective in humans, the scientists said.