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article imageCoronavirus anti-viral inhaler medication being developed

By Tim Sandle     Aug 13, 2020 in Science
Scientists are working on an anti-COVID-19 medication that can be administered via an inhaler. The preliminary results has been published and their are pointers that this could develop into an effective treatment.
The left-field approach to tackling the SARS-CoV-2 virus comes from the University of California, San Francisco. This is in the form of a completely synthetic, production-ready anti-viral molecule that locks the SARS-CoV-2 machinery that the virus deploys to infect cells. The aim is to come up with anti-viral that would stop the coronavirus from replicating, to be used until a vaccine becomes available.
The idea is that the novel medicine would be administered via an aerosol formulation and delivered by a nasal inhaler. This simple method of delivery could be used by individuals. The inhaler would need to be used once per day.
The aerosol compound is given the working name "AeroNabs". The development of the formulation was inspired by nanobodies (or single-domain antibodies).
These are antibody-like immune proteins found in llamas, camels and related animals. The formulation works against the spike proteins found on the external structure of the virus (the spike formation is what gives the 'corona' name to the group of viruses). AeroNabs binds to the spike protein meaning it cannot attach to the receptor ACE2 (found on human cells).
Details on the development are outlined in the following video:
The next steps are to see whether a commercial company is interested and to look at the logistics of mass producing the compound and inhaler. The aim would be to produce a low-cost over-the-counter medication that could be used as a preventative measure and also one to help to treat people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
The project was supported by the UCSF COVID-19 Response Fund. The research is available as a pre-print on bioRxiv, with the paper titled "An ultra-high affinity synthetic nanobody blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection by locking Spike into an inactive conformation."
More about Inhaler, coronavirus, Antiviral, Viruses, Microbiology
 
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