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RPI researchers looking into common drug as possible coronavirus treatment

WNYT Staff
Created: July 15, 2020 06:08 PM

Imagine if there was a common drug that could stop the coronavirus from making you sick. A pair of researchers at RPI is looking into that.

The drug is heparin, a common blood thinner. It binds to the spikes on the coronavirus, blocking its ability to infect a person.

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"We think we could treat early in the infection, maybe even right after exposure to coronavirus, through say a nasal spray, protect the nose from coronavirus," said Robert Linhardt, PhD, a professor and researcher at RPI. "So it would act as a decoy. It would block the binding of the virus to the human cells."

Since heparin's anti-coagulant action only works when the drug is administered intravenously, delivering it in spray form into the nose or into the lungs through an inhaler wouldn't trigger that action, just the decoy effect.

Dr. Linhardt says the pandemic shut down his lab and that interfered with the research, so they're gearing back up. Mouse studies are on tap.


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