Health

Coronavirus drug shows promise at Carolina

Potential relief to the coronavirus pandemic.

Potential relief to the coronavirus pandemic.

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health researchers are testing a new broad-spectrum antiviral drug that could potentially be a relief to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Ralph Baric, an epidemiologist in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, heads a lab testing a broad-spectrum antiviral drug called remdesivir.

Six years ago, the lab partnered with the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc. Their goal was testing the company’s antiviral drugs to curb emerging viral diseases often overlooked by big pharmaceutical companies, said Tim Sheahan, a virologist in Baric’s lab.

Coronaviruses were of particular interest. Fast forward to today, and the intravenous drug remdesivir could potentially be a relief to this global pandemic. Just like broad-spectrum antibiotics — which can cure a wide range of bacterial infections — a broad-spectrum antiviral like remdesivir can work against genetically distinct viruses.

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