Remedesivir : Game Changer for COVID-19 Treatment?

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Harsirat Kaur
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COVID-19 disturbed everything on the planet, be it our routines, the economies, the businesses, the transport system, or our safety. It spread worldwide in March 2020, and honestly, we are getting antsy to get rid of it for good. The countries are doing their research for the same. The scientists all around the world are trying their best to make a possible antidote for this virus. The pandemic made us realize a lot. The people want to write their life on a clean slate. But, Coronavirus is an obstacle that does not let us do it.

We have medicines like Chloroquine, Favilavir, Fusogenix DNA, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, or Actemra. There are a lot of vaccines and drugs in clinical trials. But, one novel Coronavirus drug that is getting popular and advised is REMEDESIVIR.

What is Remedesivir?

Remedesivir, pharmaceutical name GS-5734, was developed by the Gilead sciences group. In Asian countries, they are performing clinical trials on 761 patients in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study at multiple hospitals in Wuhan. This is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Demedesivir founding home Gilead Sciences
Source: PharmaLive

According to a report by The New England Journal of Medicine, Remedesivir proved to improve the clinical condition. When tested to a COVID-19 patient in the US, doctors could see a positive difference. The University of Nebraska Medical Center is also carrying out clinical tests. The first person to test this medicine is an evacuee from the Diamond Princess Cruise ship.

In India, Jubilant Life Science’s arm Jubilant Generics has launched remdesivir as an injection under the brand name ‘JUBI-R’ at a price of ~$62 ( 4,700 ) per vial of 100 mg (lyophilized injection).

Suggested Post: India’s Covid-19 Vaccine, Covaxin Starts First Phase Trials

Remedesivir’s chemical components explained.

Remesdisivir belongs to the group of Nucleotides. Please do not confuse them with Neuclosides. The difference between the two is:

  • Neuclosides do not have the phosphate group.
  • Whereas Neuclotides are essential building blocks of DNA and RNA.

Remedesivir specifically targets RNA. It blocks RNA polymerase, an enzyme responsible for creating RNA in Sars-CoV-2. It targets RNA that multiplies in our bodies. So, RNA polymerase is replicating inside our bodies for the coming generation. If we have taken a dose of this drug, the polymerase will accidentally replicate Remedesivir molecules rather than the natural molecules. This will counteract itself. So, initially, it was replicating virus molecules, but now, it will multiply Neuclotides, which will prevent the virus’ growth.

Remedesivir drug for COVID-19
Source: TrialSite News

How does it work against COVID-19?

It is an altered version of natural adenosine (neucloside). There are three critical differences in the chemical diagram of adenosine and Remedesivir.

Remedesivir: an anti-dote to COVID-19
Remedesivir and adenosine diagram
Source: acsh.org

  • So, when Remedesivir’s injected and administered in a patent’s body, it becomes a pro drug. This means that, once you consume it, the adenosine will get modified and will become an active drug.
  • Remedesivir belongs to the carbon-nitrogen group, attached to the sugar in the body. Once it’s activated, the shape of sugar puckers, and it distorts the shape of the RNA strand, in turn. This ruins the Coronavirus completely in the body.
  • The structural feature of Remedisivir has a link between carbon and nitrogen atom. The chemist replaces the nitrogen with an atom of carbon, making the bond carbon-carbon. This is crucial for the drug’s success because a particular enzyme in Coronavirus notices unnatural neuclosides and pluck them out. But, this enzyme cannot pluck the neuclotide, blocking the chain growth.

Remedesivir was initially developed to search the inhibitors of the Hepatitis C virus, another RNA virus. The patient showed fast recovery with this drug against the COVID-19.

Clinical trials are happening all around the world for the development of a vaccine. But, right now, this drug is the first step for other vaccines to form.

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