True Revenge on Covid

A new drug seeks ‘true revenge’ on Covid by turning the virus against itself. Better yet, those who take the new drug are expected to spread virus that destroys itself - meaning it should be unable to infect a new host.


Illustration of a virus

A neurologist at a prestigious U.S. research institute has developed an experimental COVID treatment he calls “true revenge” that weaponizes the virus against itself.


Called NMT5, the new drug alters the virus, causing it to gain “warheads” that temporarily alter the cells where Covid usually attaches and enters so that the virus is no longer capable of infecting them.


Because of the differing approach to attacking the virus, NMT5 is thought to prevent the spread of infection to others. Those infected with Covid who take the new drug are expected to spread virus that destroys itself - meaning it should be unable to infect a new host, according to the study.


It’s a feat no other COVID vaccine or treatment has yet to accomplish - “true revenge” on a virus that has caused so much death and suffering in recent years, says Dr. Stuart Lipton, professor of neurosciences and neurology at the University of San Diego School of Medicine and the Yale School of Medicine.


What’s more, NMT5 was found to be highly effective against COVID variants Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron. It reduced the ability of the virus to replicate in the host and transmit to others by up to 95 percent, the study states.


Yet another bonus: In addition to being taken in pill form, the drug can also be inhaled, meaning it can immediately diffuse to the lungs and nasal passages, where the virus enters the body, ideally preventing further spread.


Because NMT5 is a combination of two FDA-approved drugs - memantine and nitroglycerine -it’s likely to be safe, Lipton says, though it will still need to undergo an FDA review. He hopes that human trials can begin in the next few months.

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