Institute Pasteur Korea (IPK) said Monday that it has confirmed the efficacy of ciclesonide, a type of steroid in asthma treatment Alvesco, in treating new coronavirus infections.
Researchers at the institute, who had been conducting a drug repositioning study on the new coronavirus since February, used the same corona family of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in conducting the preliminary tests to obtain test results quickly.
The institute conducted the research at a cellular level on about 3,000 drugs it owns, including 1500 approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The study is part of the National Life and Safety Emergency Response Research funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT.
The research team found about 20 substances by analyzing the SARS-CoV-2 received from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The detected compounds have the same or superior antiviral activity in cellular experiments compared to the remdesivir, Kaletra, and chloroquine in Korea and overseas, the institute said in a news release.
In particular, the researchers selected ciclesonide as the most feasible medication after reviewing its safety, drug efficacy, related overseas cases, and domestic sales status.
“We have found the drug has antiviral activity in cells by confirming its efficacy in clinical practice, and expect the drug will help treat COVID-19 patients,” IPK Director Ryu Wang-shik said. “We will continue to conduct drug repositioning researches to discover effective medicines to treat COVID-19.”
The study was made public on BioRxiv, an online site carrying research results before their formal publication, on Saturday.