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Drug repurposing for SARS-CoV-2 infection using human organoid culture technology

COV011
  • Project Leaders: Francois Jean
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $456000
  • Program/Competition: COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2020
  • Status: Closed

In the search for effective drugs against SARS-CoV-2 infection, there are speed and safety advantages to repurposing existing drugs. This project was aiming to find drug candidates that could be repurposed for COVID-19 either tested alone or combined with other drugs for enhanced efficacy.

At the end of this nine month project, the team developed several assays and systems that could be used to test and screen for antiviral strategies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. Using these systems and assays, they identified several candidate drugs as very potent and effective antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. They demonstrated the feasibility of targeting different human and virus proteins to successfully block SARS-CoV-2 infection in cell-based systems and provide evidence that these may be beneficial strategies for tackling COVID-19 in humans. Moreover, they demonstrated that their new candidate drugs are also very effective against SARS-CoV-2 emerging variants of concern (VOCs) such as the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant and as such warrant future investigation for their application in the fight against COVID-19 VOCs. Further pre-clinical and clinical validations of these candidate drugs are required post project.