Researchers in Québec are hopeful that a drug derived from plants could be the key to curing infections caused by the novel coronavirus.
The broad spectrum anti-viral medicine known as quercetin has already proven successful at treating Ebola and Zika viruses, says Dr. Michel Chrétien, a researcher at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal.
Now, he and co-researcher Majambu Mbikay are awaiting approval to send the drug to China where a clinical trial will test its effectiveness on COVID-19.
“As soon as we receive the OK from China, we are ready to move,” Chrétien told The Current's Matt Galloway.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak first began in January, researchers around the world — including in Canada — have been racing to develop a vaccine or treatment for the illness.
While Chrétien cautions against “false hope” saying that quercetin's effectiveness for treating COVID-19 must be proven, Mbikay is optimistic for its potential.
He believes the novel coronavirus may infect people in a way similar to viruses that came before it. That means the drug could have the ability to block the virus from developing in the body.
“We believe that this particular drug interrupts the entry of viruses … so that you can attack several viruses at the same time,” said Mbikay.