The researchers are investigating what dosage of probenecid could have the biggest impact fighting viruses in people and plan to start clinical trials of the medication within the year, UGA said in a news release.
Currently, only remdesivir has received federal approval for treatment of COVID-19 and it must be administered intravenously in hospitalized patients. The search for treatments has been extensive, and potentially dangerous. Some Georgia physicians have been writing prescriptions for ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, for patients upon request for COVID-19 against the advice of the Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association and Merck, its manufacturer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week.
The UGA researchers examined hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2 and treated them with probenecid for either 24 hours before infection or 48 hours post-infection. Hamsters treated with probenecid had dramatically reduced lung virus.
“These data support the potential clinical utility of probenecid to control SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans,” the study said.
UGA has been actively researching therapeutics that can treat COVID-19 and the flu. It’s leading a federally funded effort to develop a new, more advanced flu vaccine to protect against multiple strains of the virus in a single dose.