Novel drugs to treat and prevent COVID-19
The public-private consortium to run this project, involves leading academic groups and for-profit parties with a track record in drug discovery and development, has ample knowledge in medicinal chemistry and virology. The development of an effective treatment and prophylactic for COVID-19 will have a profound social and economic impact in the current times. Additionally, a broad spectrum antiviral will help to contain/curb future epidemic coronavirus outbreaks and to treat future patients.
A new coronavirus identified as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the viral pandemic outbreak which commenced in Wuhan (China) and has rapidly spread around the world. SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which causes fatal pneumonia in a percentage of the infected population. There are no specific drugs or vaccines available to treat the disease and the clinical management of sever cases involves oxygen administration and mechanical ventilation. As a result, the governments of most countries have adopted drastic containment measures with an unprecedented economic impact.
In order to rapidly discover lead compounds with potential for clinical use our research program consists of an existing library of peptidomimetic protease inhibitors (partially novel and partially approved drugs) with proven antiviral activity, structure-assisted drug design, state-of-the-art synthesis techniques and advanced biochemical and cellular assays. The screening of novel molecules targeting relevant proteases required in the infection and virus proliferation mechanisms will enable the identification of new drug leads against SARS-CoV-2 and, ideally, broad-spectrum pan-coronavirus inhibitors coud could be applied during future outbreaks of other corona viruses.