Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago are developing a new peptide treatment to prevent COVID-19 symptoms that supports the approach being taken by closely-held Soricimed Biopharma.
The peptide treatment at Rush is proving effective in reducing fever, protecting lungs, improving heart function, and reversing cytokine storm – a condition in which an infection triggers the immune system to flood the bloodstream with inflammatory proteins, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.
The study said that since the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) for entering into cells, researchers have designed a hexapeptide corresponding to the ACE2-interacting domain of SARS-CoV-2 to inhibit the binding of virus with ACE-2. After intranasal treatment, the peptide reduced fever, protected lungs, normalized heart function, and enhanced locomotor activities in a mouse model of COVID-19, the study said.
Soricimed is investigating the potential therapeutic role its cancer drug candidate, SOR-C13, in helping relieve or prevent severe immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Data from early studies by Soricimed suggest that SOR-C13 could interfere with the interaction of the virus with the ACE2 receptor, and stop the entrance of SARS-CoV-2 into healthy cells resulting in the virus’ inability to reproduce.
SOR-C13 is designed to decrease calcium concentrations inside cancer cells to inhibit calcium-dependent cancer cell proliferation and induce death of tumor cells
Emerging COVID-19 data suggest that calcium plays a role in the development and worsening of the infection. Soricimed believes that SOR-C13 could also help reduce the calcium load of SARS-CoV-2 infected cells, in turn decreasing the intensity of the infection.