Virologists identify a dual-action drug effective against SARS-CoV-2

A research team headed by Prof. Stephan Ludwig, a virologist at the Institute of Virology at the University of Münster, discovered a new dual attack mode of action while working on the development of a therapeutic candidate against SARS-CoV-2 infections. This might be the foundation for a widely effective medicine to combat Covid 19.

Virologists identify a dual-action drug effective against SARS-CoV-2
Lead author Dr André Schreiber (left) and Professor Stephan Ludwig have found a new type of dual action for an anti-Covid 19 drug candidate. This might provide the basis for a broadly effective medication. Image Credit: © WWU–privat.

The research has been recently published in the journal Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences and served as the foundation for approval by the German Institute of Drugs and Medicinal Products for current clinical research.

The drug not only stops SARS-CoV-2 viruses from multiplying in cells, but it also lowers the excessive immune response that may be a critical concern in severe Covid infections.

In the results we have published, we have been able for the first time to show such a dual action for an anti-Covid 19 agent.

Stephan Ludwig, Virologist, Institute of Virology, University of Münster

Stephan Ludwig has the overall responsibility for the study.

Researchers from the Universities of Würzburg and Tübingen, the German Primate Centre in Göttingen, and the “Atriva Therapeutics” start-up founded by academics from the Universities of Münster, Tübingen, and Gießen collaborated with the team.

The active drug in discussion, Zapnometinib or ATR-002, which was initially developed as an anti-flu medicine, proved successful in a variety of cell culture models, including efficacy against all SARS-CoV-2 variations examined, implying broader applications in dealing with potential future variants. Animal testing is currently underway to corroborate these findings.

Positive results from the still ongoing clinical study in humans might already lead to an emergency approval this year for a new, broadly effective Covid-19 medication. The benefit is clear.”

Stephan Ludwig, Virologist, Institute of Virology, University of Münster

Source:
Journal reference:

Schreiber, A., et al. (2022) The MEK1/2-inhibitor ATR-002 efficiently blocks SARS-CoV-2 propagation and alleviates pro-inflammatory cytokine/chemokine responses. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. doi.org/10.1007/s00018-021-04085-1.

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