Brazilian researchers find HIV meds to work against coronavirus

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Trials performed by Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) showed that atazanavir, a drug used by HIV-positive patients, was able to stop coronavirus replication and reduced the production of proteins connected to lung inflammation. The results, researchers say, are more promising still when atazanavir is associated with ritonavir, another medicine used by HIV patients, while chloroquine — advertised by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as a “possible cure” for Covid-19 — had a poorer performance. 

The analysis observed the molecular interaction of atazanavir and viral enzyme Mpro — that allows virus’ proteins to be made correctly — in infected cells. Besides acting on Mpro, they found out the medicine might work on the respiratory system. Results are available on the platform BioRXiV.