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January 25, 2021updated 28 Jan 2021 7:29am

Elasmogen identifies protein-based drugs to fight Covid-19

Elasmogen has identified protein-based drugs that can potentially stop Covid-19 infections, through a partnership with the University of Minnesota.

Elasmogen has identified protein-based drugs that can potentially stop Covid-19 infections, through a partnership with the University of Minnesota.

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Funded by the Chief Scientist Group, Scottish Government, the work was coordinated through the University of Aberdeen.

The company claims that the newly identified anti-Covid-19 Spike protein VNARs are capable of blocking infection of the virus at doses as low as 200 pM, equivalent to the best-reported antibodies.

Furthermore, Elasmogen’s drug panel is only one-tenth the size of large and complex human antibodies and can be delivered through alternative routes including directly into the nose and throat, rather than via injections.

The VNAR platform of proteins can also bind to their target at sites inaccessible for human antibodies, increasing their potency and making them specific against the disease.

Elasmogen CEO and chief scientific officer Caroline Barelle said: “These robust little proteins have their origins in the immune systems of sharks and over 400 million years of evolution have been tailor-made to recognise pockets and grooves in proteins as part of the animals’ defence against infections.

“At Elasmogen we have been able to capture, using the latest protein and genetic engineering techniques, the immune system of 10,000 shark equivalents in a test-tube.  We then screened these for VNAR binders that block viral infection, and are delighted with the outcomes.”

The company noted that by crystallising the lead VNAR as it bound to the receptor-binding domain of the Covid-19 spike protein, the VNARs bound to the virus / receptor interface in a region distinct from published antibodies, effectively blocking infection.

Computer modelling also showed that the interaction would not weaken if the VNAR had to block infections from the Kent or South African strains, although it needs to be proven experimentally.

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COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines the world over. It has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, and socialize will all be different in the future. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan for multiple eventualities.  Faced with an explosion of conflicting information on how to plan and implement successful recovery strategies, decision-makers are in dire need of a single, reliable source of intelligence.   GlobalData’s COVID-19 Executive Briefing gives you access to unparalleled data and insights to successfully navigate the uncertain road to recovery across the world’s largest industries. Understand every aspect of this disruptive theme by delving into: 
  •  COVID-19 infection update, with statistics on the spread, testing by country, as well as the latest data on vaccines and therapeutic developments 
  • Economic impact overview, covering stock market indices, GDP, unemployment rates, policy responses & GlobalData’s economic recovery scorecards 
  • Sector developments, with access to sector insight summaries, cross-sector indices and the leaders and laggards in each industry vertical 
Whatever your company’s imminent strategic plans, the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 must not be overlooked. Find out how to futureproof your business operations – download our report today. 
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