New COVID Treatment May Be Tested at VCU

Sep 24, 2020

Doctors at Virginia Commonwealth University say they may have an effective treatment for COVID-19 and other viruses – a medication already tested in people with cancer. 

VCU Biochemist Paul Dent hopes to test a drug called AR12 in patients with COVID-19.
Credit VCU

The medication known as AR12 was derived from Celebrex – a drug widely used to stop pain and inflammation in people with arthritis. AR12 was also shown to be safe and effective in treating people with blood cancer, and VCU biochemist Paul Dent says in a test tube it stops viruses from reproducing.

“AR12 can stop lots of different viruses – influenza, ebola, zika, mumps, measles, rubella.”

He adds that  it extended the lives of laboratory animals infected with zika, hemorrhagic and dengue fevers.

" My laboratory plus another two laboratories have shown that it prolongs the life of animals infected with lethal viruses.”

Now, he’s raising money to manufacture AR12 and asking the Food and Drug Administration to give him quick approval to test the drug in people with COVID-19. 

Dent hopes to begin a clinical trial in March of next year, testing the medication on 30-40 patients.