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New antiviral medication targets viruses incl COVID, influenza

Microscopic view of Coronavirus, Sars

The antiviral medication platform developed by ViroBlock at Hebrew University has had some early success.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) professors started the company ViroBlock, which has made a new pharmaceutical platform for quickly making antiviral drugs that target viral proteins.

The antiviral medication candidates of ViroBlock block two viral targets: the E (envelope) protein and the 3a protein. The E protein is an ion channel, a protein family found in practically all living cells, and a popular target for pharmacological treatments because of its shape. For instance, the spike proteins of the viruses from 2003, SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1, are around 75% identical, but their E proteins are approximately 95% similar. It means that even if the virus changes, it’s likely that the ViroBlock medicines will still work.

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CEO and Founder and CEO of ViroBlock, Isaiah (Shy) Arkin, who is also a professor of biological chemistry at the Institute of Life Sciences at Harvard University, explains “With our exclusive technique, ViroBlock can discover targets in a new viral threat (or variation), build inhibitors against it, and analyze the resistance potential of the virus against the new medicine, all at a breakneck speed.”

According to a recent study conducted by the pharmaceutical research firm Evotec, ViroBlock’s innovative technology platform can deliver speedy solutions for treating existing and upcoming viral threats, such as COVID-19 and its variations, Hepatitis B, Zika, influenza, and West Nile. The study showed that the channel blockers it found could protect cells from dying from viruses and cut down on viral offspring.

Arkin adds that “currently, there are no efficient, proven platforms for rapidly producing antiviral medications. Without the capacity to forecast how a virus will evolve resistance, scientists must design new agents and a unique technique to combat each new infection. ViroBlock is developing a potential treatment candidate for COVID-19 using a strategy that can apply to most significant viruses.”

The next step of clinical studies will examine the human effects of this antiviral strategy. In addition to the antiviral medications now undergoing testing, the business has antiviral pharmaceuticals developed by the platform in development.



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