Institut Pasteur Korea announced on May 14 that nafamostat, an acute pancreatitis treatment and a blood anticoagulant component, has antiviral effects against the new coronavirus.
Institut Pasteur Korea has been conducting drug recreation research since February to discover candidates for COVID-19 treatments among drugs already licensed or under development. According to the institute, nafamostat showed the strongest antiviral efficacy against the COVID-19 virus among about 3,000 drugs analyzed through cell culture experiments. In particular, its efficacy is approximately 600 times stronger than Ebola treatment Remdesivir, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.
The institute has been studying the antiviral efficacy of TMPRSS2 inhibitory drug nafamostat by referring to a recent German study that a protease called TMPRSS2 acts during the activation of spike protein when the COVID-19 virus enters a cell. The institute used direct human lung cells to determine antiviral efficacy and compared the results with others. The results were reliable, the institute said.
"Nafamostat is an anticoagulant that removes thrombosis associated with an acute respiratory distress syndrome, and will be effective in improving symptoms such as thrombosis, the main pathology of COVID-19 pneumonia," the researchers said. “Napamostat, which has several hundred times stronger antiviral effects at the cellular level than Remdesivir, will contribute to putting an end to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Ryu Wang-sik, director of Institut Pasteur Korea.