Purdue researchers working on medical treatments for coronavirus

Purdue researchers are making strides to develop a medicine that will fight against the coronavirus. The emerging virus has killed 17 people in China and sickened hundreds.

Posted: Jan 23, 2020 5:39 PM
Updated: Jan 24, 2020 9:50 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—Professor Andrew Mesecar works for Purdue University's Biochemistry Department.
He said a drug used to treat the SARS virus could be the answer in treating the coronavirus.

"We've been working on therapeutic compounds,” said Mesecar. “Basically we'd like to have a pill for it, to get rid of it."

The compounds researchers have developed over the last 16 years prevent the coronavirus from replicating.

"If it's not quite potent against the Wuhan virus, what we'll do is go back and re-engineer the drug, synthesize new versions of it to try and make it more potent,” said Mesecar.

Researchers are currently waiting for a synthesized version of the coronavirus to further their studies.

“I have colleagues that are synthesizing the entire virus, not waiting for the patient samples, so that we can actually move forward and test our compounds against live viruses," said Mesecar. 

Mesecar said that medical experts are also trying to determine if the virus is transmittable before the onset of fever.

"Before fever you're not going to be transmitting,” said Mesecar.

Although a fever along with common cold symptoms could be early stages of the virus.

"That's a really important thing because if you can screen and you see somebody has these symptoms before a fever you can isolate them,” said Mesecar.

Because of technology, Mesecar said studies are advancing quicker than ever.

"We're doing things now within a matter of days and weeks that took months to years back when SARS came out."

The drug is not expected to be ready in time to help patients in the current outbreak, but it should protect the future.

Earlier today, the World Health Organization ruled that the virus is not yet a public health emergency on the international level. But the vote was split almost 50-50.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 771299

Reported Deaths: 14005
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1059471808
Lake570611031
Allen43193700
Hamilton37458426
St. Joseph37420568
Elkhart29819471
Tippecanoe23584231
Vanderburgh23431405
Porter19616327
Johnson18899394
Hendricks18168323
Clark13623199
Madison13604348
Vigo12908256
Monroe12626178
LaPorte12594225
Delaware11183198
Howard10747237
Kosciusko9810124
Hancock8799150
Bartholomew8296157
Warrick8150157
Floyd8072183
Grant7397181
Wayne7254201
Boone7236105
Morgan6948143
Marshall6358117
Dubois6301118
Cass6110112
Dearborn604078
Noble603590
Henry5971111
Jackson518677
Shelby512898
Lawrence4961127
Gibson467296
Montgomery461392
Clinton458455
DeKalb458485
Harrison456977
Huntington421382
Whitley418645
Steuben412861
Miami407273
Jasper402556
Knox393191
Putnam386862
Wabash371684
Adams355356
Ripley352771
Jefferson347187
White340954
Daviess3098100
Wells304881
Greene295985
Decatur293493
Fayette287464
Posey285435
Scott283458
LaGrange278472
Clay276049
Washington255637
Randolph248283
Jennings240449
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Starke230859
Owen224759
Sullivan222943
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Jay203432
Carroll198822
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Perry191939
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Parke156816
Pike143434
Blackford138232
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Newton123736
Benton110515
Brown106443
Crawford106316
Martin92715
Warren88015
Switzerland8488
Union73710
Ohio58411
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