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EU-funded Covid-19 project to begin clinical trial of treatment

Italian regulators approve Exscalate4CoV consortium plans to test osteoporosis drug on coronavirus

An EU-funded research project has received the green light from Italy’s pharmaceuticals regulator to start a clinical trial of a possible treatment for Covid-19. The possible treatment was identified as having high potential by an analysis of more than 400,000 existing compounds.

The trial will test whether a drug called raloxifene, which is used to treat the bone condition osteoporosis, can safely and effectively block the replication of the virus that causes Covid-19, according to a 27 October announcement by a drug company called Dompé, which is leading the project.

Raloxifene was identified as having high potential by the Exscalate4CoV project, a transnational public-private consortium led by Dompé that used a supercomputing analysis platform supported by the EU R&D programme, Horizon 2020, to search for possible Covid-19 treatments. The company holds a patent on the use of the drug to treat Covid-19 together with the Fraunhofer Institute and the University of Leuven. 

The EU R&D commissioner Mariya Gabriel said it was “great to see such promising results” from the project.

The trial will be led by the Italian National Institute for Infectious Diseases and will involve up to 450 participants in its initial phase, with enrolment expected to take 12 weeks.