Virios Therapeutics has collaborated with the Bateman Horne Center (BHC) of Salt Lake City in the US state of Utah to investigate the role of combination antiviral treatment for long Covid or Post-Acute Sequelae of Covid-19. 

Under the collaboration, Virios will offer BHC with an unrestricted grant for a study sponsored by an investigator for analysing the potential of combination antiviral therapy with IMC-2, a development candidate of the former.

This study will analyse the impact of the treatment in common Long Covid symptoms including sleep, fatigue, pain, autonomic function, anxiety and attention.

A new combination of valacyclovir and celecoxib, IMC-2 merges two specific and synergistic mechanisms of action, deliberately chosen to hinder activation and replication of the herpes virus. 

The development candidate aids in retaining the herpes viruses in a latent state or ‘down-regulates’ them to latency from a lytic state. 

IMC-2’s valacyclovir component hinders viral deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) polymerase needed for replication. 

Furthermore, the celecoxib component hinders COX-2 and COX-1 enzymes, that are utilised by herpes viruses to expedite their replication.

Virios Therapeutics chairman and CEO Greg Duncan said: “We are pleased to support the Bateman Horne Center, a leading clinical research centre in post-viral syndromes, as they study the therapeutic potential of IMC-2 to ease the burden of long Covid, which is an emerging healthcare crisis.”

In addition to IMC-2, Virios has another antiviral development candidate, IMC-1. The orally administered fixed-dose antiviral therapy merges famciclovir and celecoxib. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted fast track designation to IMC-1.

Virios Therapeutics chief medical officer Michael Gendreau said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that Covid-19 acutely depresses our immune system, which may allow for reactivation of neurotrophic pathogens such as viruses in the herpes family.”