New Delhi: A new research provided evidence of viral resistance to Paxlovid among SARS-CoV-2 variants currently circulating globally, indicating that this stand-alone drug could soon become less effective in treating COVID-19 infections. The research showed that simple single amino acid changes in SARS-CoV-2 main protease could severely undermine efficacy of these antiviral drugs.
The study, conducted by the Midwest Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Center, US, is published in the journal Science Advances.
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Scientists showed that drug-resistant variants have appeared multiple times independently in different parts of the world, with regional clusters providing evidence for person-to-person transmission. In addition to showing resistance to the protease inhibitor nirmatrelvir, the active component of Paxlovid, the scientists found that a different set of mutations currently in circulation can transfer resistance to ensitrelvir (Xocova), a protease inhibitor now approved in Japan. Reuben Harris, co-director of the Midwest AViDD Center, said,
Although our study demonstrates the existence of natural circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants with resistance to two different drugs, the good news is that their resistance profiles are distinct. This means that if one of these drugs fails due to emergence of resistance in viral variants, the other drug may still work.
Further research is likely to develop additional next-generation protease inhibitors with different resistance profiles, as well as drugs that target different viral processes such as replication or cell entry, the scientists said.
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A multi-drug approach – like existing therapies for HIV and Hepatitis C virus – could further help to protect against resistance and cure SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals, they said.
They also said that protease inhibitors must be carefully designed to avoid simple resistance mutations to lower the risk of resistance.
Despite Paxlovid’s proven success in blunting COVID-19 symptoms, the long-term consequences of its widespread use in speeding up resistance are unknown, said S. Arad Moghadasi, co-author of the study and a University of Minnesota Medical School (US) graduate student. Drugs with the highest barriers to resistance are likely to prove more effective and have longer-term durability.
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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.