Researchers from Rutgers are among leaders in a race to find an oral COVID-19 treatment to supplement or replace Paxlovid – the antiviral medication that helps keep high-risk patients out of the hospital and from dying. They have published data showing that an alternative medication, a viral papain-like protease inhibitor, inhibits disease progression in animals, a necessary step before human drug trials. The paper appears at bioRxiv, a preprint server where researchers can share new findings before they complete peer review. It has been submitted for journal publication.

“COVID-19 remains the nation’s third leading cause of death, so there’s already a massive need for additional treatment options,” said Jun Wang, senior author of the study and an associate professor who runs a research lab at Rutgers’ Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. “That need will grow more urgent when, inevitably, COVID-19 mutates in ways that prevent Paxlovid from working.” To read the full story.