Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a disease caused by a coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Despite the global efforts to combat this disease, there is currently no effective prophylactic or post-exposure therapy available. However, a study published in the Virology Journal in 2005 has shed light on a potential treatment option - Chloroquine.
Chloroquine, a drug primarily used in the treatment of malaria, has been found to have strong antiviral effects on SARS-CoV infection of primate cells. The study demonstrated that the drug is effective when administered either before or after exposure to the virus, suggesting both prophylactic and therapeutic advantages.
The mechanism of action of Chloroquine is believed to be multifaceted. One of the well-known functions of Chloroquine is the elevation of endosomal pH. This alteration in pH can interfere with the terminal glycosylation of the cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is a functional receptor of SARS-CoV. This interference may negatively influence the virus-receptor binding and abrogate the infection.
Furthermore, Chloroquine appears to inhibit the infection and spread of SARS-CoV at clinically admissible concentrations. This suggests that Chloroquine could be a viable option in the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV infections.
However, it's important to note that while these findings are promising, they are based on in vitro studies. Further evaluation of Chloroquine in animal models and clinical trials is necessary to confirm its efficacy and safety in the treatment of SARS-CoV infections.
In conclusion, the study provides a significant insight into the potential use of Chloroquine in the fight against SARS. As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of emerging diseases, such findings underscore the importance of re-purposing existing drugs as a part of our therapeutic arsenal.