A research group from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) discovers new compounds that prevent COVID-19 infection

2021/08/11 18:40:00 GMT+2


The finding, which also involved the French Institute of Health and Medical Research and the biotechnology company Innoprot, was promoted by the Euskampus International Campus of Excellence.


Research groups led respectively by lecturer Iker Badiola, from the Faculty of Medicine and Nursing of the UPV/EHU, and Dr. Majid Khatib, from INSERM at the University of Bordeaux (French Institute of Health and Medical Research), have discovered several compounds that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. This finding is the result of a collaborative consortium promoted by the Euskampus International Campus of Excellence which also involved the INSERM-Paris research group, led by researcher Bruno Villoutreix and the Basque biotechnology company Innoprot. It has identified therapeutic compounds that target the infection and spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

Using bioinformatics tools, this consortium has identified about 1000 compounds that have proven effective against SARS-CoV-2 in the laboratory, most notably Sulconazole, an antifungal agent that was found to be the most effective, and four other substances, which are being investigated further. The effectiveness of this compound has been evaluated in vitro in cellular models with satisfactory results, achieving inhibiting rates of up to 85%.

The collaboration of these groups began in 2017, with the joint leadership of the research by two PhD students involved in studies on the incidence of proteases, called proprotein convertases, in cancer. This was one of researcher Iker Badiola's main lines of work. The discovery that one of the convertases that the group is investigating in cancer (furin) is also involved in SARS-CoV-2 infection by activating the spike protein was key to leading the researchers to explore this avenue. 

The research consortium announced the publication of a research article summarizing these findings.

Patent for Sulconazole 

The researchers also announced the patent for a new use of Sulconazole and other compounds against SARS-CoV-2 infection and have initiated contacts with the industry for possible development and marketing. This consortium is still working on the effectiveness of four other furin inhibitor compounds that also showed high efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 infection.  

Further information about the patent here.

News published in CAMPUSA, UPV/EHU.





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