In news- The CSIR and Laxai Life Sciences Private Limited have initiated phase II clinical trials of anti-helminthic drug ‘Niclosamide’ for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
- The trial is a multi-centric, randomised, open label clinical study to evaluate the efficacy, safety and tolerability of Niclosamide for treating hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
- The collaborative research between CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), Jammu and the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru had recently demonstrated that Niclosamide was also a potential SARS-CoV2 entry inhibitor, blocking the viral entry through pH dependent endocytic pathway.
- In a screen to identify drugs that can inhibit syncytia formation, Niclosamide was identified as a promising repurposed drug by a research group from King’s College London, which collaborated in this project.
- The syncytia or fused cells observed in the lungs of patients with COVID probably result from the fusogenic activity of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
- Niclosamide, sold under the brand name Niclocide among others, is a medication used to treat tapeworm infestations.
- It is not effective against other worms such as pinworms or roundworms.
- Niclosamide is in the anthelmintic family of medications and works by blocking the uptake of sugar by the worm.
- It may be used during pregnancy and appears to be safe for the baby.
- It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines and is not commercially available in the United States.
- It is also effective in a number of other animals.
- It is used as a general purpose piscicide in aquaculture.
Niclosamide has a short half-life in water in field condition and hence is more valuable in ridding commercial fish ponds of unwanted fish.