Michigan Minds: COVID-19 and Drug Therapies
Drug repurposing—finding a drug or drugs previously approved by the FDA for one disease and using them to treat another—is the aim of the Center for Drug Repurposing (UM-CDR), which is now researching how to combat COVID-19.
The UM-CDR launched in October and is led by U-M faculty Jonathan Sexton, George Mashour, and Kevin Weatherwax from the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR). In this episode of Michigan Minds, Sexton, assistant professor of Internal Medicine at Michigan Medicine, explains how UM-CDR quickly reacted to the COVID-19 outbreak and rapidly began identifying and screening drugs that could be effective as therapeutic interventions for COVID-19. The focus is on FDA-approved drugs because the time from trials to prescribing is drastically reduced.
“The only intervention that’s really possible to deploy in a short timeframe is the repurposing of an existing drug, so that’s the whole reason why we’re doing this first. We have many initiatives to try to address the COVID-19 pandemic, but our first is going in search of a drug—or rather a cocktail of drugs—that can have a high efficacy as an antiviral and also dampen the host response to the disease,” says Sexton.