UCSF researchers working with scientists around the globe have identified dozens of drugs, already FDA approved, that show promise in fighting COVID-19.
It’s a collaborative effort with more than 120 scientists but the blueprint of more than 300 human cell proteins the virus needs to survive and thrive, was put together at UCSF’s Quantitative Biosciences Institute.
“This map has led us to identify about seventy drugs or compounds that we think could have antiviral effects,” said UCSF QBI Director Dr. Nevan Krogan.
Krogan heads up QBI and is a senior research investigator at neighboring Gladstone Institutes.
He says they have tested the identified compounds with the help of labs in New York and Paris and have already proven their antiviral powers. He said blocking those proteins that COVID-19 needs to multiply, may be more effective than approaches that target viruses directly because viruses often build up drug resistances.
“If you target a human cell or human protein, you don’t have to deal with that resistance as much. It’s not as much of a problem,” Krogan said.
The doctor says the collaboration between scientists who often compete against each other for breakthroughs proved to be crucial in the new research.
“What I’d like to see is that we leave this infrastructure in place so that we can fight the next pandemic, COVID-22, COVID-24, the next virus or disease that we want to focus on.”
The next step is clinical trials but because many of the drugs and compounds have already passed toxicity tested in other applications, they may be able to get to market in the fight against COVID-19 faster than a new drug.