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Researchers in London, Ontario are developing faster and cheaper ways to test possible COVID-19 medications

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“We have developed a safe, fast and inexpensive way to identify the effectiveness of potential potential,” said a team at the Research Innovation Center at Van Shaw College in London, Ontario. COVID-19 (new coronavirus infection) (# If there is no character limit, add parentheses when it first appears Drug treatment. “

The team hopes that this development will allow pharmaceutical companies to quickly screen a large number of potential drug treatments. COVID-19 (new coronavirus infection) (# If there is no character limit, add parentheses when it first appearsSpeed ​​up the process of approving new treatments.

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A team of principal investigators, Abdullah Marboub, has developed a special type of artificial copy of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This causes COVID-19 and can be used by researchers in high-level laboratories to quickly test treatments without the use of expensive materials.

Non-infectious copies are called replicons and were previously used by many viruses. Through Replicon, which contains all the unstructured genes of the virus but lacks the infectious gene, researchers can safely test treatment using the luminescent gene of fireflies.

“Basically, the more the virus copies itself, the more luminescent signals are inside the cell,” Mahboob explained.

“Luminescence is directly related to how much the virus replicates. Imagine you are being treated. What you do is put that treatment in and compare it to an untreated experiment. And with less and less luminescence, you can see if the treatment is working. “

He added that researchers do not produce the virus itself, so there is no need to use expensive biosafety level 2 laboratories.

“Most biotechnology labs around the world can safely and easily perform these experiments with very cheap materials.”

The Replicon itself isn’t new, but Mahboob says his team actually designed the SARS-CoV-2 Replicon from scratch “to make mutations very easy to introduce.”

“Because the pandemic is progressing and new treatments are being implemented, such as: remdesivir What we have noticed is that there is now resistance to treatment. This is, for example, the same way bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics, “Mahboob explained.

“What we can do is create these resistant forms. You can also create these mutant forms and test them. Basically it can be done in a few days. Therefore, about new mutations It takes days after hearing, and within days, we have already generated the mutation in a way that allows us to safely test new therapies. “

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Already, the team has generated two mutations to test the treatment. One is associated with higher mortality and the other is resistant to remdesivir.

Mahboob said the team aims to work with commercial partners who “can actively participate in this venture and bring proof-of-concept success from small university laboratories to large-scale applications.” I am. Some companies have shown interest, but there have been various reactions from the companies we have contacted so far, but first we want to make sure they are “packaged”.

“We want to provide this as a kind of packaged material that companies can start working on right out of the box. That’s what we’re aiming for. And that’s what we’re aiming for. I want to sell it. “

This development actually stems from work on another project involving a team from the National Institutes of Health and Mahboob working on the validation of peptide inhibitor treatment options for COVID-19.

“(Peptide inhibitors) can attach to a much larger portion of the virus. Therefore, we wanted to use this replicon to make the peptide inhibitor resistant to remdesivir. It’s about demonstrating that it’s very effective against resistant types, and that’s why we first actually developed this Replicon. “

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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