Singaporean scientists find effective drug cocktail against COVID-19 hinh anh 1Professor Dean Ho led the team that worked on the IDentif.AI platform to combat infectious diseases, such as the Covid-19 virus. (Photo: NUS)

Singapore (VNA) – Singaporean researchers announced that they have found a combination of drugs that can be used to treat COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

The drug cocktail is expected to be effective against Beta and Delta variants, The Straits Times reported.

A research team led by Professor Dean Ho, Director of the National University of Singapore’s Institute for Digital Medicine, has used an artificial intelligence (AI) platform named IDentif.AI and live virus testing to create the optimal combination of drugs with the correct dosages to treat COVID-19.

According to researchers, one of the resulting combinations was a dynamic duo consisting of Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutic's novel antiviral drug, molnupiravir, combined with baricitinib, an anti-inflammatory drug.

Prof Ho said the combination could strongly inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory tests, making it suitable for further clinical evaluation.

Dr Conrad Chan, director of Applied Molecular Technology Laboratory at the Defence Medical & Environmental Research Institute, said molnupiravir was effective against the coronavirus as well as the Beta and Delta variants. Thus, it is a strong drug candidate from which multiple combinations can be derived, he added.

A total of 12 drugs - which included a range of antivirals and cancer drugs - were tested and ranked according to their efficacy in inhibiting the virus.

Professor Ho said his team is currently looking to conduct clinical trials of molnupiravir and its drug combinations on COVID-19 patients. The study involved people who were vaccinated with mild to moderate illness.

After establishing a database of drug combinations for the treatment of COVID-19, the team will continue to work with clinicians to find new drugs that can be added to the range of drugs available to treat COVID-19 patients in the future, he said.

However, Dr Louis Chai, a senior consultant at the National University Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases, said that there was no data yet from clinical trials that proved the drug combination was effective in all phases of COVID-19.

He noted that some drugs could reduce the SARS-CoV-2 viral load in patients, but they may not slow down disease progression or prevent death./.