Shiv Nadar University in Greater Noida on Monday announced that its researchers have created a molecule that has the potential to be developed into a drug that can cure Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients.
The team found a set of New Chemical Entities (NCEs) with the ability to cure Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) or Acute Lung Injury (ALI) induced by COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) or other Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which are also caused by coronaviruses.
The two-fold strategy devised by the research team involved the application of the NCEs to inhibit attachment, entry and infection of the new SARS-CoV-2 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 novel coronavirus.
"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," study researcher Dr Subhabrata Sen, Professor, Department of Chemistry at Shiv Nadar University said in a statement.
According to the University, the discovery has come out of months of research, conceptualising small molecule modulators of a set of hormonal receptors in humans and how they are connected with potential receptors in the lungs that act as the entry of SARS-CoV-2, SARS and MERS in the human host.
Additionally, the researchers looked into the pathophysiological condition of lungs during respiratory failure. This included extensive investigations of lung specimens from patients who were retrospectively found to have COVID-19.
Using these data, they designed the project that helps in attenuating acute respiratory distress.
The research team has filed a provisional patent in India to protect the new chemical entities. The novel molecule in discovery is being moved to the next stage of checking where its efficacy will be tested on animals.
They believe their 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 not bringing much relief to COVID-19 patients suffering from ARDS.
The study from Shiv Nadar University was conducted in collaboration with Professor Ralf Jockers, an expert molecular biologist from Institut Cochin (INSERM, CNRS, the University of Paris in France).