Researchers discover molecule that may treat COVID-19

Researchers at Noida university discover molecule with potential to treat coronavirus

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.

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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.

"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.