Drug approval in 2021 Molnupiravir in several countries, including Spain, it was happily received throughout the world. Coronavirus vaccines have already begun to save lives, but there has never been an alternative to antiviral drugs to treat high-risk patients who cannot avoid infection. It showed reduce both income and mortality and continues to do so. However, a new study published in Naturefound that this drug may help new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
It should be noted that the emergence of new variants is normal. Virus They are unable to copy themselves. They need the machinery of the cells they infect. Therefore, once they get into them, they begin to copy themselves. When we repeat a word many times, it is possible that our tongue gets stuck on one of them. The same thing happens with viruses when they create many copies. Sooner or later they make mistakes. Therefore, every time a virus, whatever it may be, infects a new host, it can generate mutations. Some of them will be useless, even negative for the virus. But others can be chosen to provide benefits. This leads to a gradual repetition of the error and the emergence of a new variant. This does not require a new drug.
The problem is that it has been observed that if a few viral particles remain after treatment Molnupiravir, perhaps they have mutations that are selected for and end up becoming new variants. This has already been demonstrated with sufficient evidence. But now it’s time to check how dangerous we can consider this.
Here’s how Molnupiravir works
Molnupiravir is an antiviral drug effective against RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2causing COVID-19.
It acts precisely during the replication process; because once it is introduced into the body, converts to ribonucleoside. Nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, are chains whose units are known as nucleotides. DNA is deoxyribonucleotides and RNA is ribonucleotides. If one of their components, called the phosphate group, is removed, they become nucleosides. And vice versa. That is, if we add phosphate to a nucleoside, we get a nucleotide.
When a virus infects a cell, it uses the mechanisms it normally uses to replicate itself. It includes RNA polymerase (in the case of RNA viruses), the function of which is to combine nucleotides to form a new RNA chain from the template. The ribonucleoside into which molnupiravir is transformed contains a small error. Therefore, when it is converted into a nucleotide, the polymerase perceives it as one of the links in the chain, but builds wrong line. said very much rough, the drug encourages errors in virus replication. However, these errors prevent playback from continuing. Most often this is what happens, but other problems can arise.
The unexpected bug that gives wings to COVID-19
The authors of the study from Francis Crick Institute of London, analyzed 15 million genomes of the COVID-19 virus. So they found mutagenic signatures tend to evolve into new variants. That is, they found recurring mutations over time that could eventually be selected for and give rise to new variants.
Something caught his attention as he took this step, because there was specific mutational signature which was found in much higher numbers in countries where molnupiravir use is widespread. On the other hand, in places like Canadawhere its administration is illegal, these mutations are virtually undetectable.
After pulling the string, they came to the conclusion with great confidence that the drug could cause more mutations than they would like. In fact, it may help the virus evade the immune systempromoting more infections and longer lasting infections.
This is what was suspected could happen as explained Living Science lead author of the study Theo Sanderson. However, so far no evidence has been found that this is happening.
Now these tests need to continue to be studied as much more assurance is needed. It is necessary to ensure the availability causality, beyond chance. In addition, other scientists warn that, as is usually the case with drugs, benefit/risk balance. Even with the possibility of new variants emerging, it may be worthwhile to use Monupiravir in at-risk patients with COVID-19.
All of this should be the focus of future research. Meanwhile, the use of this drug did not stop. After all, the very fact of infection from one person to another already entails mutations. It would be better to treat seriously ill patients while preventing them from also becoming sources of infection.
Source: Hiper Textual