Clinicians treating patients suffering from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) currently have no drugs specifically targeted to the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a virus first detected in humans in 2012 that has since caused 614 laboratory-confirmed infections, including 181 that were fatal, according to the World Health Organization. The case count escalated sharply in the spring of this year, and the first cases in the United States were announced in early May. To address the urgent need for therapies, researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health screened a set of 290 compounds already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or far advanced in clinical development for other indications to determine if any might also show potential for working against MERS-CoV.
J Dyall et al. Repurposing of clinically developed drugs for treatment of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy DOI: 10.1128/AAC.03036-14 (2014).
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci., M.D., is available to comment on this research. Co-author Lisa Hensley, Ph.D., associate director for science, NIAID Integrated Research Facility, is also available to discuss the findings.
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