Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus (SARS-CoV). No effective prophylactic or post-exposure therapy is currently available.
We report, however, that chloroquine has strong antiviral effects on SARS-CoV infection of primate cells. These inhibitory effects are observed when the cells are treated with the drug either before or after exposure to the virus, suggesting both prophylactic and therapeutic advantage. In addition to the well-known functions of chloroquine such as elevations of endosomal pH, the drug appears to interfere with terminal glycosylation of the cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. This may negatively influence the virus-receptor binding and abrogate the infection, with further ramifications by the elevation of vesicular pH, resulting in the inhibition of infection and spread of SARS CoV at clinically admissible concentrations.
Chloroquine is effective in preventing the spread of SARS CoV in cell culture. Favorable inhibition of virus spread was observed when the cells were either treated with chloroquine prior to or after SARS CoV infection. In addition, the indirect immunofluorescence assay described herein represents a simple and rapid method for screening SARS-CoV antiviral compounds.
It ought to be no surprise that chloroquine is effective against both SARS and COVID-19. After all, they are both coronaviruses and COVID-19 has often been described in medical and research sources as SARS-2.
Chloroquine works by enabling the body’s cells better to absorb zinc, which is key in preventing viral RNA transcription – and disrupting the often fatal cytokine storm.
As at least one person has noticed, the implications of this are enormous. If the medical establishment – including CDC – has been aware of the efficacy of chloroquine in treating coronavirus for at least 14 years, why has it not been mass produced and made available sooner?
Here, you might have imagined, is the dream solution: a stop gap treatment for coronavirus which could save many lives and obviate the need for this global lockdown which is destroying our economies.
One possibility, as I suggested yesterday, is that there is no money in it for Big Pharma. Chloroquine is a generic drug. That’s why Big Pharma’s lobbyists have worked hard to persuade governments that there can be no acceptable solution till a patented vaccine is brought on to the market. Even if this happens it won’t be till long after the pandemic is over – probably not till at least next year.
I don’t think our businesses, our livelihoods, our sanity can wait that long. Do you?