Repurposing already available medication for COVID-19 therapy is an attractive option to shorten the road to treatment development. Research by scientists from the German Primate Center (DPZ) – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research has shown that the drug camostat used for pancreatitis inhibits new SARS-CoV-2 activators identified in the upper respiratory tract. Camostat exerts antiviral activity by blocking the protease TMPRSS2, which is used by SARS-CoV-2 for entry into cells. SARS-CoV-2 depends on activation by the cellular protease TMPRSS2 for infection of lung cells.
These proteases are expressed in the upper respiratory tract and are blocked by Camostat. Also, the researchers found that Camostat and its major metabolite GBPA inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection of primary human lung tissue. Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 by Camostat was initially shown using the lung cell line Calu-3. Camostat and nafamostat are used in Japan to treat inflammation of the pancreas. Camostat and GBPA blocked SARS-CoV-2 infection of lung tissue and Nafamostat had increased antiviral activity.
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