(CTN News) – Rutgers University researchers have significantly advanced in developing a novel oral treatment for COVID-19, which could provide an alternative to Pfizer’s Paxlovid, particularly for high-risk patients. Animal studies have proven that their innovative research slows the progression of the disease with a viral papain-like protease inhibitor.
Treating the gaps in current treatment
Professor Jun Wang, an associate professor at Rutgers’ Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, highlighted the urgent need for additional and diverse treatment options. Although vaccines have been rolled out, COVID-19 remains one of the leading causes of death in the United States. As a result, he highlighted the crucial role that new treatments can play in preparing for future viral mutations that may compromise the efficacy of existing drugs such as Paxlovid in the future.
Targeting the virus’s life cycle
A protein called PLpro is key to the virus’s life cycle, and it’s present in all known strains of COVID-19. Wang’s team designed and synthesized 85 drug candidates based on structural information provided by Rutgers’ Arnold Lab at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine.
The Jun12682: A Game-Changer
Known as Jun12682, it inhibited multiple strains of SARS-CoV-2, including those resistant to Paxlovid. Trials on mice infected with SARS-CoV-2 showed Jun12682 reduced viral lung loads and pulmonary lesions and improved survival.
Additionally, Jun12682 doesn’t have the same drug interaction issues as Paxlovid, which is important since many high-risk patients take several prescriptions. Rutgers has patented this promising compound and is looking for partners to help it progress.
Researchers have disseminated the study on bioRxiv and submitted it for publication in a scientific journal, marking an important step forward in the fight against COVID-19 and offering hope to high-risk patients everywhere.
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