First COVID-19 drug research experiment in space set to launch to ISS on SpaceX mission

ice cubes facility pillars

The ICE Cubes Facility on the ISS will host the remdesivir drug analysis experiment.


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When SpaceX’s CRS-21 mission launches to the International Space Station this weekend, it will likely be loaded with all types of provides and analysis, together with the primary COVID-19 drug experiment set to happen in house. The launch is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5.

The experiment will not contain astronauts present process any remedies. That is all about bettering the effectivity of antiviral drug remdesivir, which is given intravenously. 

“Scientists will use Europe’s business ICE Cubes Service to check a COVID-19 medication in microgravity so as to higher perceive how remdesivir interacts with its supply substance cyclodextrin in order that the drug’s effectivity could be improved,” the European Space Agency (ESA) said in a statement on Friday.

ICE Cubes stands for “Worldwide Business Experiment Cubes.” The service permits business entities entry to microgravity house analysis. “It will likely be the primary time any COVID-19-related analysis takes place on the Worldwide House Station,” ESA mentioned.  

Remdesivir has been a supply of optimism in terms of treating COVID-19, the illness that is ravaging the world throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In October, the FDA issued an emergency authorization for use of the antiviral within the hope it may assist sufferers with extreme COVID-19. 

Nevertheless, there is not a large settlement on whether or not remdesivir is efficient. Additionally in November, the World Health Organization issued a conditional recommendation against the use of remdesivir in COVID-19 sufferers, saying “there’s at the moment no proof that remdesivir improves survival and different outcomes in these sufferers.”

The teams behind the remdesivir work on the ISS hope it may make the drug simpler and in addition decrease the danger of utilizing it for sufferers with kidney points, mentioned know-how firm InnoStudio, one of many prospects for the experiment, in a statement in November (PDF hyperlink).

The experiment will happen in ESA’s Columbus laboratory, a module on the ISS that hosts science and physics analysis efforts. 

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Amanda Kooser