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Losartan: A Drug That Could Help Us Beat the COVID-19 Pandemic

Losartan could be the next trial drug to help us beat the Coronavirus. This blood pressure medication is being tested at the US University of Minnesota.
By
Zahrah A
 - 
19 March 2020

Scientists from the University of Minnesota are testing a generic blood pressure medication to see whether it can prevent severe symptoms of the Coronavirus and maybe even stunt the multiplication of the virus within the body. This blood pressure medication is called Losartan.

What does Losartan do?

Losartan, which is also sold under the name Cozaar, blocks an individual receptor on cells which could block an enzyme used by the virus. This enzyme helps the virus to attach to host cells. If we can prevent virus cells from attaching themselves to our cells, recovery times for the patients could decrease. With recovery times decreasing, the spread of the Coronavirus altogether.

Of course, before we can start promising these results, we need to know if the drug works in the first place.

Another drug that is being tested to stop COVID-19

losartan

Hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, is also being tested to see if it could put a stop to the Coronavirus spreading. Besides having an effect against malaria, the drug supresses the production and release of proteins. These specific proteins are involved in the inflammatory complications of several viral diseases. The University of Minnesota is also working on trials to see whether hydroxychloroquine if effective too.

Why are 'random' drugs being used in trials against COVID-19?

These drugs aren't 'random' as such. After the outbreak of MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) scientists conducted screens of thousands of approved drugs to find one that would help patients of MERS. Several drugs (such as chloroquine) showed the ability to block Coronaviruses

When the Coronavirus knocked on the door, the drugs that had shown initial promise against MERS were seen at the top of the list as drugs to pursue in trials.

It will be some time before these drugs are labelled as effective against the Coronavirus. I would suggest for you not to self medicate on any drugs just in case of an adverse effect it may have. For example, Losartan would lower your blood pressure. Stay safe!

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