Coronavirus attacks various human body organs; cellular entry for the virus requires two host cell surface proteins, namely ACE2 and TMPRSS2. Downregulation of one or both of these proteins can be a potential therapeutic approach for COVID-19. TMPRSS2 protein is a known target of the androgen receptor; androgen receptor activation increases TMPRSS2 levels in various tissues, most notably the prostate.
A new study revealed that drugs typically used to treat prostate cancer could be a promising treatment option for Covid-19. In this study, researchers focused on one of the surface proteins, TMPRSS2. Treatment with the androgen-blocking drug enzalutamide reduced TMPRSS2 levels in lab cultures of human lung cells. Enzalutamide is widely used in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer and is often well-tolerated by patients.
Antiandrogens significantly reduced SARS-CoV-2 entry and infection in lung cells.
The researchers say their study adds to a growing body of evidence from groups worldwide, supporting clinical trials to assess the efficacy of antiandrogens as a potential treatment option for Covid-19.
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