Latvian researchers have found five active chemical compounds that may serve as the base for the development of SARS-CoV-2 medicine in the future. However, currently the properties of these compounds do not yet meet the standards of medicines normally submitted for clinical trials, as reported by the head of the Laboratory of Physical Organic Chemistry of Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis Kristaps Jaudzems.
In summer 2020, a total of ten projects were outlined in the state research program to reduce Covid-19 consequences. One of those projects was the Development of new therapeutic and prophylactic products against Covid-19 and coronaviruses performed by Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre in cooperation with Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia and Riga Technical University.
According to Jaudzems, a part of this project is devoted towards development of new therapeutic products. To achieve this result, researchers search for substances that would be strong enough to kill the virus specifically. During the project researchers went through 7 million commercially available compounds. Researchers then picked the ones with the highest potential.
At first these compounds were sought using computer modeling. According to Jaudzems, new compounds were synthesized on their base. These new compounds may be even more active.
Research of these compounds continues to potentially make them into medicines capable of killing the virus and reducing its concentration in the organism very quickly, says Jaudzems.
According to him, medicine of this kind would be the most effective at early stages of infection. Later on, once the body develops a strong immune system response, medicine of this kind would be used in combination with medicines that assist the immune system.
This will help create specific medicines that are more effective than re-profiled medicines such as ivermectin or remdesivir. In a recent study the latter did not prove its effectiveness in battling Covid-19.
“Compared to these medicines, which already exist and are frequently used to treat Covid-19 patients, the new compounds were specifically made for this virus, whereas remdesivir and other re-profiled medicines were made for other viruses in mind – their efficiency against coronavirus was low,” explains the expert, adding that compounds developed during the research process are more active and are specifically intended to battle SARS-CoV-2.
The advantage of re-profiled medicines is that they have already passed clinical trials, whereas the substances found by Latvian researchers have not yet reached this point. This is why, according to Jaudzems, it cannot be expected these substances may pass clinical trials any time soon.
Funding is also a problem, since its availability directly dictates how quickly medicines may pass clinical trials.
In spite of the fact that researchers of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis have found many compounds, the biggest challenge is finding finances needed to start clinical trials. This means researchers need to improve the compounds they found. Clinical trials will start once funding has been found.
Researchers around the world continue working on development of new medicines. For example, an approach similar to Latvia’s is used by at least two other laboratories – one in the Czech Republic and the other in Canada. (BNN/Business World Magazine)