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UGA Researcher Offers Hope for COVID with Gout Drug

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COVID-19 case continue to climb across the nation and the around the globe, with no cure on the horizon and limited treatment options for patients. New research at the University of Georgia shows promise in combatting the disease. Dr. Ralph Tripp is lead author of the study and GRA Eminent Scholar of Vaccine and Therapeutic Studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine. He says a gout medicine, already in use for more than 40 years seems to stop all the virus, and potentially many others, in its tracks.

“So treating with Probenecid lowers inflammation and the ability to actually infect cells,” according to Tripp. “By shutting off O3 [OAT3, a gene required for the virus to replicate] the virus may infect cells but it can’t reproduce, so it dies.”

It's pennies on the dollar, really inexpensive. That's why it can be used around the world.

Probenecid is FDA-approved, has minimal to no side effects and is inexpensive. And it treats all variants.

“It’s pennies on the dollar, really inexpensive. That’s why it can be used around the world.”

Tripp says the medicine should be able to treat other respiratory viruses like the flu, or RSV, as well as a multitude of RNA viruses, like Dengue Fever and possibly HIV.

“What could potentially make this drug a blockbuster is that it works on the whole cells, not on the virus. All antivirals work on, basically the virus and that’s where resistance will develop. In this case it can’t develop because it’s working on the whole cell.”

He is working on funding for clinical trials. The medication could be used for COVID treatment in nine to 12 months of study.