International team identify six potential Covid-19 drug candidates

Allie Nawrat 9 April 2020 (Last Updated April 9th, 2020 14:34)

Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ), the Taussig Cancer Center in Cleveland and universities across China have screened more than 100,000 compounds to identify six potential compounds for Covid-19.

UQ scientist involved in the project Professor Luke W. Guddat noted: "We’ve provided scientists with a fishing pole, the line and the exact bait, and have, in only one month, caught some fish.

“Now it’s up to us and the other fisherman – our fellow scientists globally – to take full advantage of this breakthrough.

“With continued and up-scaled efforts we are optimistic that new candidates can enter the COVID-19 drug discovery pipeline in the near future.”

The researchers received more than 300 requests for more information before their study Nature, which was published earlier today.

In the paper, the writers explain they focused on Covid-19's main protease, Mpro, which plays a role in viral replication and transcription. They screened over 10,000 compounds including approved drugs, drug candidates in clinical trials, and other pharmacologically active compounds, and identified six with sufficient anti-viral activity on Covid-19.