UofL believes it’s made breakthrough in COVID-19 treatment, works to fast-track approval

University of Louisville researchers say they may have made a breakthrough in fighting the novel coronavirus.In the race to find a treatment, UofL says it has developed a technology believed to block SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from infecting human cells.They explained it this way: The technology is based on a piece of synthetic DNA, or an “aptamer,” which targets and binds with a human protein called nucleolin. Researchers said early tests show this aptamer may stop viruses, including novel coronavirus, from “hijacking” nucleolin to replicate inside the body. Coronavirus in Kentucky, Indiana: Tracking COVID-19 curve of cases, deaths They have used this same technology in clinical trials for cancer.”What we found was this is a safe kind of drug. It had very few side effects and that’s why we’re so excited about the prospects of moving this forward as a treatment for coronavirus. We don’t think there’s going to be any serious side effects,” Paula Bates, a University School of Medicine professor, said. Hear from Bates in the video player above.She said they know that it works against the actual virus in a cell-based model, so that gives them “really big hope” that it will work in patients, too.Bates, along with John Trent and Don Miller, discovered the aptamer. She then partnered with fellow researcher Kenneth Palmer, who conducted proof-of-concept experiments showing the aptamer was effective against the virus at doses previous research has shown to be safe in patients, a news release said.Now, the researchers want to fast-track development, including application to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to start treating patients seriously affected with COVID-19.”We know how to make it. We believe it can be scaled up pretty quickly to be made available as needed. I think everybody in science and medicine is behind this so when people find something that works, once they’ve shown it works, things will move very quickly with the FDA getting approved hopefully, and with being able to manufacture enough so everybody can have it for treatment,” Bates said.

University of Louisville researchers say they may have made a breakthrough in fighting the novel coronavirus.

In the race to find a treatment, UofL says it has developed a technology believed to block SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from infecting human cells.

They explained it this way: The technology is based on a piece of synthetic DNA, or an “aptamer,” which targets and binds with a human protein called nucleolin.

Researchers said early tests show this aptamer may stop viruses, including novel coronavirus, from “hijacking” nucleolin to replicate inside the body.

Coronavirus in Kentucky, Indiana: Tracking COVID-19 curve of cases, deaths

They have used this same technology in clinical trials for cancer.

“What we found was this is a safe kind of drug. It had very few side effects and that’s why we’re so excited about the prospects of moving this forward as a treatment for coronavirus. We don’t think there’s going to be any serious side effects,” Paula Bates, a University School of Medicine professor, said. Hear from Bates in the video player above.

She said they know that it works against the actual virus in a cell-based model, so that gives them “really big hope” that it will work in patients, too.

Bates, along with John Trent and Don Miller, discovered the aptamer.

She then partnered with fellow researcher Kenneth Palmer, who conducted proof-of-concept experiments showing the aptamer was effective against the virus at doses previous research has shown to be safe in patients, a news release said.

Now, the researchers want to fast-track development, including application to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to start treating patients seriously affected with COVID-19.

“We know how to make it. We believe it can be scaled up pretty quickly to be made available as needed. I think everybody in science and medicine is behind this so when people find something that works, once they’ve shown it works, things will move very quickly with the FDA getting approved hopefully, and with being able to manufacture enough so everybody can have it for treatment,” Bates said.


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