The project, led by Queen’s University Belfast and funded by the Medical Research Council, will bring together experts from Queen’s, the University of Liverpool and the University of Oxford. The team will use a data-driven approach to identify novel drug combinations that are effective in tackling SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.
Despite the development of vaccines and drugs at an unprecedented pace to prevent and treat infection, there remains a huge gap in the development of antiviral therapies. Antiviral drugs are used specifically to treat viral infections by killing or preventing the growth of viruses.
The research project will initially screen 138 drugs with known antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 to assess and identify combinations that enhance their antiviral potential. The most effective combinations will be presented to national organisations including the UK Antiviral Task Force and UK-CTAP, evidencing the need to bring the treatments forward to clinical trials phase.
Professor Miles Carroll, Principal Investigator from Oxford University, said: ‘We are excited to join this anti-viral consortium with the ultimate aim of providing new drug candidates for the Antiviral Task Force. The fact that we are focussing on those drugs that are already licensed for human use, means those with significant anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity can be rapidly assessed in humans where they could have a significant impact on the disease burden in the community.’
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