Researchers at Anivive, a pet health drug discovery and commercialization company, are seeking approval to test a new drug for Covid-19 that was originally developed to treat feline intestinal coronavirus. Similar to Covid-19, feline coronavirus is very contagious. In some cats, the virus mutates and leads to feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which is currently the top cause of death for young cats and kittens (~700,000 cats annually).
The new drug, GC376, is designed to block the coronavirus from replicating. In vitro studies have shown that it works against FIPV in addition to other coronaviruses that infect animals and humans. In clinical studies of coronavirus-infected cats, GC376 improved clinical signs in only 24-36 hours and maintained remission for 2 weeks during treatment without significant adverse events. Similar potent activity was found for 4 models of coronavirus (MERS, SARS, FIP and SARS-CoV-2) and now the drug is being explored as a possible treatment for Covid-19 in humans. In fact, the company has already started to ramp up production for human clinical trials and they have now filed a Pre-Investigational New Drug application with the FDA.