15 Anti-SARS Drugs Identified By China-Europe Team of Researchers

SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) has been a major killer in the last two years in July 2003; SARS had killed 774 people worldwide and infected a further 8,000. A collaborative group of researchers from China, Germany, Denmark and Poland have spent the past year screening more than 8,000 existing drugs to find those that could combat SARS and now have identified 15 existing drugs that have the potential to kill the virus that causes SARS.

SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome is a form of pneumonia and it is serious in nature. If one gets infected with the virus then it leads to respiratory diseases that is acute in nature. The infected faces difficulty in breathing and this could also at times lead to death.

SARS is caused by the same virus family that causes common cold. By the way did you check out Prolesan Pureand its effects on weight loss? So coming back to the topic, SARS is caused by the coronavirus virus family and it is believed that the epidemic first started when the virus got spread from small mammals that were inhabitants of China.

If someone is suffering from SARS and he sneezes or coughs then the infected drops spread into the air. If you are healthy and happen to breathe or touch these particles then you get infected too. The SARS virus can live anywhere, in the tissues, on hands and on any other surface and for many hours. If the temperature is below freezing point then the virus can stay alive for many years.

This three-year research collaboration is funded by the European Commission and was launched in 2004 to identify 50 compounds that have the potential to treat SARS.

A paper published last month by the group in the Journal of Virology showed one such compound called Cinanserin can stop the SARS virus from replicating. Interestingly cinanserin, was approved in the United States for clinical use in the 1960s to treat schizophrenia and other psychopathic diseases. Shen one of the researchers said that: ‘cinanserin could not form a SARS treatment on its own, but would need to be used in combination with other drugs’. As it is an old safe and cheap drug, it could be used widely for SARS patients in the developing world.

China is also working on vaccines against SARS epidemics. The first phase trials have already been completed in December and the second phase is to start soon as per a news release on 29 June.