Israeli startup develops drug platform to combat future Covid variants

i24NEWS

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This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause Covid-19.
Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin/CDC via AP, FileThis 2020 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause Covid-19.

Platform speedily generates anti-viral drugs that target proteins common to all viruses

Israeli startup ViroBlock announced on Wednesday the development of a new drug platform that could be used to treat future Covid-19 variants.

The platform speedily generates anti-viral drugs that target proteins common to all viruses.

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It could be used to combat not only future Covid-19 variants, but also influenza, Zika, West Nile, hepatitis B and other viruses.

The company was founded in 2020 by researchers at Yissum, the technology transfer arm of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Currently, there are no efficient, validated platforms for rapidly generating anti-viral drugs,” said ViroBlock CEO and founder Prof. Isaiah (Shy) Arkin, who teaches and researches biological chemistry at Hebrew University's Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.

“Scientists must develop new agents and a customized approach to target every new virus, without the ability to predict how that virus will develop resistance... ViroBlock is working on a promising drug candidate for Covid-19 using an approach that can be duplicated with most other important viruses," Arkin continued. 

ViroBlock’s antiviral drug candidates inhibit two targets in the virus -- the E (envelope) protein and the 3a protein. 

The company will next enter the human phase of its clinical trials on the anti-viral drug platform.

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