New drug identified capable of blocking coronavirus effects

It can now be tested in 200 COVID-19 patients, after demonstrating its efficacy in mini-kidneys generated from human stem cells

A group of researchers from Barcelona, ​​in collaboration with international entities, has created a drug capable of blocking the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the origin of the coronavirus disease, with the aim of reducing the impact of the pandemic.

Treatment consists of using mini-kidneys developed from human stem cells. These organoids – as the different structures contained in the cytoplasm of cells are called – are created using bioengineering techniques capable of collecting the complexity of the real organ, which has allowed them to decipher researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) how SARS-CoV-2 interacts and infects human kidney cells, in addition to identifying a therapy aimed at reducing their viral load.

“The use of human organoids allows us to test very quickly the treatments that are already being used for other diseases or that they are close to being validated. In these moments in which time is pressing, these 3D structures drastically save the time that we would spend to test a new medicine in humans, “stresses Núria Montserrat, research professor at ICREA (Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies). English) and who directs this innovative project, according to Sputnik News.

As of April 2, it can already be tested in 200 COVID-19 patients, after demonstrating its efficacy in mini-kidneys generated from human stem cells.

Likewise, molecular engineering, which is closely linked to bioengineering, has been demonstrating for years its ability to predict the efficacy of experimental treatments and reduce animal experimentation. Now these tools are made available to society once again to try to find solutions to the crisis caused by the coronavirus, according to the news agency.

Furthermore, Núria Montserrat leads the Pluripotence group for organ regeneration at IBEC and is a member of the Network Biomedical Research Center in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER BBN). In this work he has collaborated with researchers Elena Garreta, Patricia Prado and Carmen Hurtado, among others.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) of the University of British Columbia have also been involved in preparing this study.

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