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The William Harvey Research Institute - Barts and The London

New Paper Published on the use of Tetrandrine as a Potential Therapeutic Agent for COVID-19

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Illustration: Group of people social distancing.

Dr Robin. N. Poston from the Centre for Microvascular Research at the William Harvey Research Institute has recently published a new review paper concerning a potential treatment for COVID-19. The work he co-authored with Dr Paula Heister from University of Cambridge was included in the Journal of Pharmacological Research and Perspectives

Focus in this review on the two pore channel 2 (TPC2) arises from previous research by Dr Heister which led to a DPhil degree at Oxford University. It is a calcium channel which is present in cellular endosomes. The review considers the recent evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus requires this channel for replication, and proposes that it might be a suitable target for therapeutic intervention. The small molecule tetrandrine is able to block this channel, and its properties are considered as to whether it might be a suitable therapeutic agent for treating COVID-19. Tetrandrine is able to block SARS-CoV-2 replication at low concentrations in cultured cells.
Tetrandrine has a long history of use in China, extending back into Chinese traditional medicine, where it was used in an impure form as a plant extract for the treatment of a remarkably wide range of diseases. Modern study has shown that it has an anti-inflammatory action, including inhibition of cytokine release from macrophages. Clinical trials have shown that it can treat industrial lung disease successfully, for which it is currently licensed in China. It remains little known elsewhere in the world.

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