The conclusion was based on a study to test whether Diltiazem could inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cells and in a mouse model.
Chinese researchers on Thursday, reported that they had found that a commonly used hypertension drug was effective in reducing COVID-19 infection in cells and the mouse lung.
The findings by researchers from Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, were published in the latest issue of the journal Plos Pathogens.
Their conclusion was based on a study to test whether Diltiazem could inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cells and in a mouse model.
Diltiazem, a drug known as calcium channel blockers, was used to treat high blood pressure.
It worked by relaxing the muscles of the heart and blood vessels. The drug had been approved in the United States since 1982 and was widely used in clinical practice for many indications, including hypertension and angina, according to the study.
Previous research showed that the drug mainly targeted Cav1.2 α1c, a typical protein coded by the calcium voltage-gated channel subunit alpha 1 C gene.
In this new study, Cav1.2 α1c was found to interact with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and human cellular receptor ACE2, which played a number of roles in regulating blood pressure, blood volume and inflammation.
In experiments conducted on mice, the researchers discovered that whether one hour before or six hours after SARS-CoV-2 exposure, an intramuscular Diltiazem dose of 5 mg/kg could significantly lower the viral infection in mice.
When given one hour before SARS-CoV-2 exposure, an intranasal diltiazem dose of 0.01 mg/kg could also significantly reduce the infection in mice, which further championed the hypertension drug as a preventive or therapeutic potential against COVID-19.
The results suggested that Diltiazem could be a candidate for COVID-19 treatment and Cav1.2 α1c was a promising target for anti-COVID-19 drug development.