Fraunhofer ITMP is applying Drug Repurposing strategies in various projects focusing on SARS-CoV-2. Here we report on the recent results.
After the recent successes in vaccine development, drug development against the COVID-19 disease is moving into focus. Therapeutics are urgently needed to provide treatment for unvaccinated populations or individuals who do not respond to vaccines. In addition, the disease treatment option offers a potential advantage if new variants of the virus emerge for which current vaccines are ineffective.
For drug development, knowledge of the mechanisms that lead to the development of a disease is a critical factor - the better we know the system, the easier it is to discover targets for therapy.
Since we currently do not fully understand how SARS-CoV-2 infects different tissues and organs and how this contributes to the development of the disease, we are using so-called "drug repurposing strategies" to screen known drug substances for their effect against COVID-19. These strategies cannot only identify effective substances for different stages of the disease and verify their potential utility as combination therapeutics, but also contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of action of this disease. To this end, our screening and informatics infrastructure uses compound library-sets composed of marketed drugs, clinical and preclinical candidates, and small molecules regarded as safe in humans. Small molecules continue to represent the largest group of drugs used in almost all disease indications.