Scientists studying an emerging coronavirus have found that a combination of two licensed antiviral drugs, ribavirin and interferon-alpha 2b, can stop the virus from replicating in laboratory-grown cells.
The study took place in National Institutes of Health (NIH). These results suggest that the drug combination could be used to treat patients infected with the new coronavirus, but more research is needed to confirm this preliminary finding. The study appears in the April 18, 2013, issue of Scientific Reports.
The new coronavirus, called nCoV, was first identified in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. As of April 16, 2013, the World Health Organization has reported 17 cases with 11 deaths, primarily in the Middle East. Although the case count is small, the new coronavirus has transmitted from human-to-human in situations where people—mainly family members—have had close contact with those infected.