Carvativir, How does the Venezuelan prophylactic and therapeutic drug against covid-19 work?
The «antiviral» developed by scientists from the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC) that, according to health authorities, would serve to inhibit covid-19, which bears the trade name of Carvativir and has been widely promoted by the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, is already on sale in the different pharmacies of the South American country.
In March, President Maduro announced the massive distribution and commercialization of Carvativir, as part of the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, right in the middle of the spike in infections, identified by the Venezuelan authorities as “the second wave of covid-19″.
Maduro made the announcement while he informed the country about the implementation of two weeks of radical quarantine, due to the increase in covid-19 cases. “We are going to distribute Carvativir throughout the country for its prophylactic, therapeutic and regenerative use. After pharmacological studies, this antiviral has been approved by the Venezuelan health authorities».
The authorization of this drug is given just as the Government intensifies and alerts about the risks of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, a situation that is aggravated, in large part, by the entry of the ‘P1’ variant and the apparent relaxation of the population on preventive care.
Maduro praised the pharmacological benefits of Carvativir and assured that it can be used as a complementary treatment to strengthen immunity against covid-19, as a therapy for sick patients, and even as a regenerative drug for people convalescing from the disease.
The Carvativir distribution process in Venezuela began on Monday of this week. First, for free, in hospitals and then it will be taken to pharmacies, where the population will be able to purchase it.
How does Carvativir work?
Carvativir is presented by the Venezuelan authorities as a completely harmless natural medicine that acts as a «powerful antiviral», composed of a purified, synthesized and modified molecule: isothymol (isothymol), a drug that stimulates the immune response in humans.
Since covid-19 is a disease that takes advantage of any weakness in the immune system, Carvativir acts as an opponent of the coronavirus in the replication of its viral load, to the point of neutralizing it when applying an extended treatment, explained the researchers in charge of the project.
The therapeutic potential of this excipient was verified through different clinical and laboratory tests, analyzed for 9 continuous months, which showed the effectiveness of isothymol against covid-19. Upon passing these tests, the Venezuelan authorities proceeded to give the go-ahead to produce, market and distribute it for use in the country.
Carvativir also has the characteristic that it can be used as a preventive, curative and regenerative treatment. Its application in patients varies according to the health condition they present.
In the case of people who have not contracted the disease, they can use it as a prophylactic treatment and apply it with 10 drops under the tongue every 4 hours until the content runs out.
The application methodology varies in the cases of serious patients, to whom a maximum of 20 drops can be applied every 2 or 3 hours, until a positive evolution of the patient begins to be perceived.
The investigation process in Venezuela
The Carvativir research corresponds to the line of evaluation of natural and synthetic compounds against SARS-CoV-2, as part of a project selected in the National Registry of Researchers, explains an official communication from the Venezuelan Ministry for Science and Technology (Mincyt).
Venezuelan virologist Héctor Rangel, who directs the research on potential drugs against COVID-19 in Venezuela, said the IVIC found that the drug acts favorably against COVID-19 infected cells as more isothymol load is applied, principal Carvativir compound.
«With increasing concentrations of Carvativir, a decrease in the formation of lytic plaques was observed. This indicates an antiviral activity”, indicated the specialist, who explained that an antiviral is a molecule, of natural or synthetic origin, that has the ability to block the infection of a virus in a cell.
According to those in charge of the research, Carvativir would have the ability to prevent the viral replication of the coronavirus in the patient’s body, which would produce the so-called «cytokine storm», which occurs when the immune system gives an exaggerated response to prevent the internal spread of the virus, and that it is the critical episode of the disease that produces pulmonary inflammation and then atypical pneumonia of covid-19.
At the end of January of this year, the head of the Ministry for Science and Technology, Gabriela Jiménez, explained that the methodology applied in the development of research on Carvativir, included the following stages:
– Isolation and identification of active principles.- Performing molecular modeling.- Application of in vitro studies and in vivo tests.- Chemical stability studies.- Clinical studies carried out over four months in positive patients with confirmed symptoms.- Statistical evaluation in the US
Jiménez stressed that they resorted to two international private laboratories to confirm the analysis of the study, because the blockade imposed by the US government against Venezuela prevents the country from accessing reagents.
One such laboratory is the US-based Mayo Clinic, where cytokine levels were evaluated in the blood plasmas of patients who received Carvativir and those who received placebo. Thus, it was determined, according to Jiménez, that the patients treated with Carvativir showed an immunomodulatory effect that improved their respiratory capacity and a decrease in viral load.
Venezuela maintains strict confidentiality
On January 24, Maduro announced the creation of the drug. At that time, the name of the Carvativir was even unknown to the people who worked on the project, given that the health authorities decided to carry out the investigations under strict confidentiality.
Days later, Minister Jiménez explained to the state television VTV the reasons for the confidentiality and why the Association of Researchers of the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (Asoinivic) did not know about the drug.
Jiménez, a biologist by profession, stressed that even the scientists in charge of the study were unaware of the real objective of the first investigations on the drug, which was to confirm the effects of isothymol as a selective inhibitor of the main protease of the coronavirus.
The study, according to Jiménez, was presented «as a sample problem to be evaluated», which later, «throughout the research process» served to confirm that isothymol did act as a covid-19 inhibitor.
The investigation – the minister detailed – was led by Dr. Alexander Briceño, who in the process observed that isothymol can be extracted from thyme and oregano, through a phytochemical process that allows the drug to be extracted from the essential oils of both species.
The minister added that as part of the international certifications for the drug, they already have articles on the research prepared «to submit to a peer-reviewed scientific journal», as well as technical reports for the World Health Organization.