Losartan is an angiotensin receptor 1 (AT1R) blocker, which researchers say could play a role in blocking an enzyme used by the virus to bind to cells.
Pharmaceutical companies are also working to develop treatments for COVID-19, including Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, which is given to hospitalized patients via intravenous infusion over several days.
The New England Journal of Medicine earlier this month described how the drug was successfully used on the first patient infected by the novel coronavirus in the United States.
Results from a remdesivir trial in China could come early next month, while Gilead has begun two international trials of the drug that previously failed as a potential Ebola treatment. And the National Institutes of Health last month began testing it on patients in a U.S. trial.
“We are focusing on high risk patients,” said Dr. Andre Kalil, infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the U.S. trial’s lead investigator. “Our hope is that remdesivir will show that patients will be improving faster.”
Companies including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, Eli Lilly and Co and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co have begun to develop coronavirus treatment candidates, but human testing of their drugs has not yet started.
Anti-inflammatory drugs, like Regeneron’s Kevzara and Roche Holding AG’s Actemra, have been used to treat the lung inflammation caused by COVID-19.
But in a disappointment, Chinese investigators reported this week that Kaletra, a combination HIV drug sold by AbbVie, failed to improve outcomes for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.