Recent Research and Development Successes
POC obtained: Animal study demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 channel blockers exhibit anti-viral activity
A recent animal study conducted by Evotec has shown that two channel blockers discovered by ViroBlock decrease lung viral load by 93%. These results are less than an order of magnitude from those obtained from a commercially available anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug, administrated at a much higher dosage. The results provide a proof of concept for ViroBlock's strategy in inhibiting ion channels as an approach to curb viral infectivity.
Blockers identified against SARS-CoV-2 channels are shown to exhibit anti-viral activity
We have shown that blockers identified against SARS-CoV-2 channels inhibit viral activity in tissue culture. Specifically, using appropriate biosafety level 3 facilities we demonstrated that blockers against channel reduce dramatically viral-induced cell death.
New blockers identified against SARS-CoV-2 3a protein
We followed the success of screening for inhibitors against the E protein by targeting another channel of the virus - the 3a protein. Our rationale is that inhibiting multiple targets in the virus represents an attractive strategy for curbing virulence. We identified eight compounds from a library of roughly 3000 repurposed drugs that blocked the 3a channel. Together with the E-inhibitors, they represent a promising step towards anti-viral activity.
New blockers identified against SARS-CoV-2 E protein
The E protein, which we have recently identified as an ion channel in the virus, is the most conserved of all viral proteins. It is, therefore, an ideal target for pharmaceutical inhibition. To that end, we searched amongst a library of close to 3000 approved-for-human-use drugs for inhibitors of the protein. Ten blockers of the channel were inhibited, which are now tested for antiviral activity.
New target in SARS-CoV-2
Using three independent bacteria-based assays, we were able to identify a new ion channel in SARS-CoV-2, the etiological agent of COVID-19. The channel, called E (for envelope), is very similar to its counterpart in the virus that caused the SARS epidemic in 2003/4. This channel is critical for viral infectivity and is the most conserved of all viral proteins. Hence, it represents an excellent target for pharmaceutical inhibition.