Doctors and scientists are studying many existing drugs with the hope of finding therapies they can repurpose to fight COVID-19. Some of these, like Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, directly go after the virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease. Others, like Incyte’s ruxolitinib, aim to dampen the overactive immune response that characterizes later stages of disease in COVID-19.
And then there are the oddballs. Take famotidine, the active ingredient in the over-the-counter heartburn drug Pepcid. The histamine-H2-receptor antagonist works by preventing stomach acid production. That it would have any activity in an infectious disease is a bit of a head-scratcher.