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US-based biotechnology firm OyaGen has announced positive findings from collaborative research of a drug candidate, OYA1, for Covid-19 treatment.

The research was conducted in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Integrated Research Facility.

Cell culture infectivity studies demonstrated strong dose-dependent antiviral activity of OYA1, compared to chlorpromazine HCl, against live SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

OYA1 is said to possess broad-spectrum antiviral activity in lab assays against coronaviruses SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV. It also has antiviral activity against filoviruses such as Ebola virus.

In the 1960s, the drug candidate received investigational new drug approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat cancer but failed to show efficacy.

Based on the laboratory testing data, the company intends to further explore the use of OYA1 as a treatment for Covid-19.

In a statement, OyaGen said: “The company anticipates that inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 using OYA1 will serve as a stop-gap treatment until appropriate vaccines are developed.

“OYA1 may also prove timely in addressing the need for combination therapy for SARS-CoV-2 to avoid the emergence of drug-resistant virus.”

Airway Therapeutics files for testing

Biopharmaceutical company Airway Therapeutics filed with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to assess AT-100 (rhSP-D) for Covid-19 treatment.

AT-100 is an engineered version of an endogenous protein.

In preclinical studies, the drug candidate safely mitigated inflammation and infection. It also modulated the immune response in different respiratory diseases.

Airway Therapeutics president and CEO Marc Salzberg said: “Research has demonstrated that rhSP-D plays a key role in the clearance of numerous bacteria and viruses across a range of serious respiratory diseases. As Covid-19 is a novel respiratory virus, it is important to follow the data to understand if AT-100 may be an effective therapeutic with prophylactic potential to reduce infection and inflammation in patients with Covid -19.

“The Covid -19 outbreak has illuminated the urgency to identify and explore new therapies for patients in need, and Airway is committed to partnering with the National Institutes of Health to explore and advance AT-100 as a potential therapeutic option.”