Scientists are reporting promising results for a new drug to treat COVID-19

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A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

Researchers are working on a drug that interferes with the coronavirus’s ability to make copies of itself, according to a report by National Public Radio.

Scientists from Emory University in Atlanta, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville first tested the drug known as EIDD-2801 in cells cultured in the laboratory.

They then gave mice that had been infected with coronaviruses that cause either SARS or MERS, and showed that it reduced the amount of virus in their bodies.

The researchers say they were unable to test EIDD-2801 in mice infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 because right now most mice are not susceptible to infection with that virus.

Timothy Sheahan of the University of North Carolina said in a press release that “in normal times, testing in non-human primates would be the obvious next step on the road to human testing. Since these are not normal times, this could be skipped and evaluated under compassionate use and established clinical trials in people. The goal is to directly attack the virus, lessen symptoms, decrease pathogenesis and save lives.”

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