* Corona Illustration by Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS (CDC)

Fighting-off Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) with broad-spectrum antivirals
and establishing a preclinical viral challenge model!

Objectives of proposal: Our consortium “Fight-nCoV” will accelerate preclinical development of new broad-spectrum antivirals for inhalation, building on breath-taking ongoing research. We will determine and characterize the antiviral activity and safety of three viral entry inhibitors (Oligonucleotide, Macro-I, Tweezer) against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and in vivo. To enable this, we will build capacity for evaluation of antiviral efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro using viral pseudotypes and wild-type SARS-CoV-2 as well as in vivo in non-human primates. Safety studies will be performed according to OECD GLP guidelines.

Expected results: We will establish a SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotype system allowing a standardized high throughput evaluation of the antiviral activity of candidate drugs. We will have determined the antiviral efficacy of three novel broad-spectrum viral entry inhibitors: oligonucleotide, macromolecular polymers, and molecular tweezers. We will also build capacity for innovation and preclinical evaluation of our broad-spectrum antivirals and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 by establishing a macaque challenge model. “Fight-nCoV” will provide efficacy data of our drug candidates given intranasally in non-human primates challenged with SARS-CoV-2, enable an early and valuable outcome for stakeholders and the civil society.

Program Actions !

We address three different areas in relation to the urgency of combating SARS-CoV-2 and increase preparedness:
1. We focus on the development of new therapeutics building on promising previous and ongoing research.
2. We develop assay protocols using a SARS-CoV-2 pseudotype virus for standardized in vitro evaluations.
3. We build capacity to evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 antivirals in vivo by establishing a macaque challenge model.
Ultimately, the Fight-nCoV program provides three different compounds, ready-made, with proven broad-spectrumantiviral effects, which will enable an early and valuable outcome for stakeholders and the civil society.
The Fight-nCoV Consortium Office, Dept of Molecular Bioscience,
The Wenner-Gren Institute (MBW), Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 101003555. The sole responsibility for the content lies with the authors, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.