CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – “Flatten the curve” has become a common phrase during the coronavirus pandemic. Scientists at UNC-Chapel Hill are hoping that a new drug will demolish it altogether.

“A lot of the work we’ve been doing for the past five or six years actually positioned us well for this moment in time,” said Dr. Tim Sheahan.

Sheahan said researchers at the Gillings School of Public Health have found success with the drug Remdisivir.

“In the lab, we’ve shown that Remdisivir works against any coronavirus we’ve tested so far,” Sheahan said. “These could be common cold coronavirus, as well as the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.”

Trials of Remdisivir are already being used in IVs of patients in China and the United States. Sheahan said a drug known as EIDD-2801 is also showing promise.

“It doesn’t really have a flashy name yet, but that will be forthcoming,” he said.

EIDD-2801 is available in pill form. It is expected to begin clinical testing on humans later this spring. Sheahan said he can envision a day where it’s available over the counter at drug stores.



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“If it’s shown to be safe and effective in people it could be used more widely,” Sheahan said.

These drugs could be could be available later in 2020 if they pass human trials, but Sheahan has a warning.

“We need to be looking to the future and thinking about what we’re going to do in the event of another emergency or a SARS-Coronavirus-3,” Sheahan said.