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Researchers at Noida university discover molecule with potential to treat COVID-19

The new chemical entities (NCEs) hold potential to cure acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) induced by COVID-19 or other severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS), according to the statement.

April 28, 2020 / 04:26 PM IST

Researchers at Shiv Nadar University have discovered a set of chemical molecules that have the potential to cure acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by coronavirus infection, the Noida-based private university claimed on Tuesday.

The team of researchers led by Professor Subhabrata Sen from the Department of Chemistry expects to complete the pre-clinical studies by the end of this year and after which the compound will be potentially ready for human trials, the university said in a statement.

The new chemical entities (NCEs) hold potential to cure acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) induced by COVID-19 or other severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS), according to the statement.

The researchers have filed a provisional patent in India to protect the new chemical entities and the novel molecule in discovery is being moved to the next stage of checking where its efficacy will be tested on animals.

According to the researchers, the therapy would not only prevent COVID-19 from affecting a person's lungs but will also address lung injuries already inflicted by the virus, in cases, the ventilators are either not proving effective or are not available altogether that would bring in relief to COVID-19 patients suffering from ARDS.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"We hope our therapeutic approach will unravel solutions against maladies associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Our aim is to conclude the preclinical studies by the end of this year, post which the new compound will potentially be ready for the next stage of development along with human trials," Sen said.

The two-fold strategy devised by the research team involved the application of the NCEs to inhibit attachment, entry and infection of the new coronavirus through a known target on the virus and co-administration of a known drug (that modulates a set of hormonal receptors in human) and these NCEs to attenuate ARDS caused by the novel coronavirus, Sen said.

"This particular research holds out the promise for a drug that can combat COVID-19, SARS and MERS – this is highly commendable," Shiv Nadar University vice-chancellor Rupamanjari Ghosh said.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI
first published: Apr 28, 2020 04:15 pm

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