Researchers request clinical trials for osteoperosis drug to treat COVID-19

Researchers request clinical trials for osteoperosis drug to treat COVID-19
© Greg Nash

Researchers backed by the European Union have requested clinical trials to study the potential of an osteoporosis drug, raloxifene, as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus.

The Exscalate4CoV research consortium virtually screened more than 400,000 molecules for possible efficacy as an antiviral treatment with a supercomputer and then analyzed 7,000 specimens that showed potential through laboratory and biological tests, according to Politico.

Raloxifene appears to be the “most promising” of 40 molecules that showed activity against the virus, according to a statement from the European Commission.

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“Today, we need science more than ever. Since January we have mobilized all our efforts to support R&I actors in their respective fields to find solutions and stop the virus,” Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said in a statement.

“This is why we have provided Exscalate4CoV with €3 million to fund their research, and I welcome the promising results they have achieved,” Gabriel added.

Researchers said it will require full clinical trials to determine whether the drug would effectively treat infected patients, but the data indicate that it has the potential to keep the disease from spreading in mild and asymptomatic cases.

“Once approved, the drug could quickly be made available in volumes and at low cost, thus helping to mitigate the effects of new waves of infection,” said the commission.

The consortium is in negotiations with Italian ethics agencies and the European Medicines Agency about clinical trials that could begin this summer, Politico reported.

Dompé farmaceutici, which leads the consortium, along with Fraunhofer Institute and KU Leuven secured intellectual property rights for the drug as a coronavirus treatment in May, but “the aim is not to make a big profit,” a Dompé farmaceutici spokesperson told Politico.