Recent Research and Development Successes
Blockers identified against Zika channel exhibit potent anti-viral activity
We have shown that blockers identified against a Zika channel dramatically inhibit viral replication in tissue culture. Moreover, we show pronounced synergism at 3μM concentration between drugs that reduce the viral progeny by more than 98%. Animal experiments are en route. Notably, there are no drugs currently on the market against Zika.
Blockers identified against Influenza channel exhibit anti-viral activity that exceeds top drug on the market
Cells are infected with the virus, and their viability is analyzed after 48 hours. Two hours after infection, different drugs are added at a concentration of 30nM (except rimantadine). Results are normalized relative to uninfected cells (green). Further comparisons may be gained by comparing the data to cells that received only the vehicle (red). Since the strain is resistant, aminoadamantane drugs (in orange) do not influence viability, as expected. The effect of commercial anti-flu agents is shown in yellow. Note the synergism between the two drugs in purple that exceeds the impact of oseltamivir, a leading approved drug.
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.