A team of French and quebec researchers, led by the Dr Guy Boivin of the CHU de Québec, update on the use of existing drugs to stop the virus in order to save time.
Several other scientists in the world have opted for the “repositioning” therapeutic, or the use of a drug already approved for other medical conditions to fight the COVID-19.
The innovative approach of the team led by Dr. Boivin could allow clinical development accelerated. It is to identify the signature of viruses in bronchial epithelial cells and then to compare it with that of compounds available on the market. The objective : to find the molecules that are already available that have a signature cell on the opposite side, in the hope of obtaining the best results.
“This is not something that is done randomly, unlike the other compounds that we hear a lot about these days and which have been found randomly. There, we are in the process of determining the signature of the coronavirus in cells and within four to six weeks, we will be able to have a list of a dozen of candidate compounds that may be tested first in animals and then in humans, ” explains Dr. Boivin, who is the holder of the Canada research chair on the virus emerging.
Skip a few steps
Microbiologist-infectiologist has used the same recipe in the last few years with the influenza. “We has got patent for it,” he said. There is even a clinical study that is underway in Europe at this time with the molecules that we have found against the influenza virus. ”
“Since we work with compounds already known, we can skip the phase 1 clinical evaluation so we can enter phase 2 directly,” he explains. You can subtract two to three months in the process between the discovery and the registration and commercialization. ”
The federal government paid him a subsidy of nearly $ 900,000 for his research, conducted in conjunction with researchers from the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France.
Coincidence, Dr. Boivin can also perform its work in a laboratory of containment level 3 is brand new, inaugurated in January last.
“We don’t need to go to Toronto or Winnipeg, and then be told that it is necessary to wait six to eight months,” he says. It is now more independent and faster. ”
5 projects here and elsewhere to monitor
1. At work since the beginning of the crisis
A pioneer in the development of drugs based on antibodies, biotech AbCellera of Vancouver is on the front line since the very beginning of the crisis in order to develop a treatment for the COVID-19 as soon as possible.
It was the first company in North America to receive a blood sample from a patient in convalescence, which enabled him to discover to date more than 500 human antibodies that can be developed and reproduced for a possible treatment.
The company’s columbian, which has the support of the government of Canada in its efforts to combat the pandemic, intends to begin its first clinical trials on humans as soon as in July.
AbCellera is associated with the biopharmaceutical Eli Lilly, in anticipation of a large-scale distribution of a future treatment.
2. A treatment that could act as vaccine
The biotech american Regeneron Pharmaceuticals board, it also, on a treatment with an antibody that could also act as a vaccine.
The company of theState of New York is hard at work to isolate the antibodies the most effective against the COVID-19, which could then be grown in a laboratory, purified and administered to patients by intravenous. “If everything goes well, and that should be the case, we should know what are the best antibodies in the next few weeks,” said Christos Kyratsous to AFP in march last.
Clinical trials should start this summer.
The antibodies could be used both as an antiviral therapy and as a vaccine.
In parallel to this research, Regeneron is associated to the French laboratory Sanofi to assess the effects of the drug Kevzara on patients with the new coronavirus.
The Kevzara is used to treat patients who suffer from arthritis.
3. Looking for answers about acute inflammation
Another research project, conducted at the CHU de Québec, aims to identify the reasons of the inflammation in acute lung in patients with the COVID-19. Dr. Louis Flamand and his collaborators, who obtained a grant of nearly $ 400,000 for this study, interest in lipid mediators responsible for inflammation, often neglected by researchers. “The [analysis] made in the blood, it is far from indicative of what is happening in the lung, and we think that with our approach, we will be able to have a much better idea of what’s happening,” he exposed. “On the side lipid, there was a whole arsenal of drugs developed in the last thirty years are already available from pharmacists. If we can see that the component due to lipid inflammatory is important and that it has molecules, one could administer them directly. ”
4. A drug against lice very effective
A standard drug and good market to combat lice and scabies, could he be the solution ? At least that is what suggest the results of tests conducted in a laboratory in Melbourne, Australia. Ivermectin, a chemical compound administered by the oral route, proved to be frighteningly efficient when tested in vitro. The drug pest control would have enabled us to reduce the viral load for 99.98 % in 48 hours. Of course, before packing, it is necessary to remember that more detailed studies – on animals and on humans – will need to be made and that person should not, in any circumstances, attempt to use ivermectin for this purpose, as long as the authorities have not ruled. In recent years, ivermectin has also demonstrated promising results regarding its ability to curb the transmission of malaria.
5. Stem cells from the placenta used in Israel
Six patients with the COVID-19, suffering from acute respiratory failure, have survived in Israel after having received a treatment based on stem cells from placentas, has recently reported the Jerusalem Post. The treatment, developed by the israeli company Pluristem, has been administered in the context of a ” compassionate use “. The patients were in a critical state and ” high mortality risk “, but this is the ultimate attempt unusual for the save worked. “A survival rate of 100 % “, headlined the publication in the beginning of the week. Pluristem says that the cells of PLX administered to patients cells are allogeneic mscs that have immunomodulatory properties. They can “prevent or reverse the overactivation dangerous of the immune system” and ” reduce the severity of the pneumonia classic and pneumonia in COVID-19 “.
This thinks of that the doc Béliveau
Drugs known : ” It is absolutely necessary to explore this possibility. The mechanism of action and the toxicity of known drugs have already been previously assessed and therefore we can speed up enormously the transfer to the patient. “