The anti-anxiety drug Xanax is among seven existing medicines identified by scientists as possibly being able to block coronavirus, a new study has revealed.
Researches from universities in Barcelona have been searching for existing drugs that can help block the virus that has devastated the world.
They have been looking at certain medicines that could help stop the ability of the virus to replicate inside cells and have listed seven drugs that could help.
Among them is the common anti-anxiety drug Xanax, as well as two others which are already showing promising lab results.
Most people’s immune system can help fight the spread of the infection, but some at risk people can’t, leading to the study to find drugs to help.
The team looked at 6,466 drugs that are authorised for use, according to science publication Knowridge, looking for ones that could help stop the virus replicating in the body.
The scientists identified seven drugs that could help the body battle against coronavirus, though they cautioned that far more research is required into possible side effects.
The drugs studied include perampanel, carprofen, celecoxib, alprazolam, trovafloxacin, sarafloxacin, and ethyl biscoumacetate.
Alprazolam, or Xanax, is the most commonly used drug in the list.
Ethyl biscoumacetate. meanwhile, is used as an anticoagulant, medicine that helps tackle blood clots.
Trovafloxacin and sarafloxacin are both antibiotics, while perampanel is an antiepileptic.
However, the only drugs tests in labs by the researchers were carprofen and celecoxib, both anti-inflammatory medicines.
The only real difference between these drugs is that the former is for animal use.
The other five drugs could also be tested soon, though researchers warned that there is no proof that Xanax might improve the condition of coronavirus patients or that it can prevent a severe outcome.
The study comes as scientists around the world continues its hunt for a vaccine, or even ways to treat the killer virus.
Multiple coronavirus vaccines could be ready for mass-use by the end of this year, according to a British pharmaceutical giant.
AstraZeneca said it was on track to produce millions of its experimental COVID-19 jab – called AZD1222 – by September.
The jab, developed by scientists at Oxford University, has moved into larger human trials after showing promise in earlier studies.
AstraZeneca’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, said he believed ‘several’ other vaccines would be ready in the autumn, too.
The Cambridge-based firm announced plans last week to scale up production of the vaccine to a billion doses by mid-2021.
GlaxoSmithKline, headquartered in Brentford, and US drugs giants Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer have also unveiled plans to produce a billion doses of their vaccines next year.