Seeking COVID-19’s New Hope in Scripps Research’s Collection of Old Drugs

May 04, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3 minutes

This week, Lab.Equipment has sourced a new Biotechnology article published from GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News:

There is a great benefit to repurposing drugs—screening drugs that are used in one application for a different application—especially when time is of the essence. A team of scientists at Scripps Research have focused on this idea, in an effort to find an effective antiviral drug against SARS-CoV-2. Calibr, the drug development division of Scripps Research, is leveraging a unique resource—the ReFRAME drug collection.

Calibr established the ReFRAME collection in 2018, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The world’s leading collection of known drugs has since grown to comprise over 14,000 compounds, including drugs that are already being repurposed for a number of diseases, with new compounds being added every day. The drugs that are included in ReFRAME have been approved by the FDA for other diseases or have been extensively tested for human safety.

Drugs that are included in ReFRAME already have a lot known about them; safety, how well they may be tolerated, how to manufacture and synthesize them at scale. Therefore, they can be rapidly screened and advanced to the clinical setting, making the road from an early discovery to impacting patients much shorter. Calibr also developed an open-source database containing preclinical and clinical data on these compounds.

Previous studies showed that some of these molecules appear effective against related SARS and MERS coronaviruses. Now, the teams are working together to test those same compounds, and others, against the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. These experiments, which test hundreds or thousands of compounds at a time, seek to identify drugs that prevent the virus from entering, infecting, or replicating in human cells.

Researchers are also screening for compou... Want to read more? You can view the full article in the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) Blog.

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