News Brief

Anti-Diabetic Drug Can Be Repurposed For Safe, Cost-Effective Treatment Of COVID-19, Finds Study

Swarajya Staff

Jul 01, 2021, 04:41 PM | Updated 04:41 PM IST

Coronavirus (Representative Image)
Coronavirus (Representative Image)

Amid the rush to develop cures for the coronavirus, a study by a University of Hyderabad (UoH) incubated startup, has discovered that an anti-diabetic drug has potential use as a ready to use, cost-effective solution for safely treating Covid patients.

In-vitro and in-silico studies conducted by ReaGene Innovations Private Limited, a startup company incubated at the ASPIRE-BioNEST, and INDRAS Private Limited, indicate that re-purposing the anti-diabetic drug Ertugliflozin, might provide a therapeutic solution to the Covid-19 infection.

Ertugliflozin is an FDA approved drug for type-2 diabetes and works as SGLT-2 inhibitor by removing excessive glucose through urine, a statement by the University of Hyderabad said on Thursday (1 July).

The research findings indicate that this re-purposed drug not only binds effectively to the receptor binding domain of the spike protein of Covid-19 and further blocks binding to human ACE2 but also displays significant anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties in a 3D human vascular lung model, both of which are fundamentals in Covid infection.

This is the first result that offers a safe, ready-to-use, cost-effective solution to humans who contract COVID-19, the statement said.

"It has immense potential to treat Covid infection, and our research proves its efficacy in the test-tube assays", said Dr Uday Saxena, CEO of ReaGene Innovations, co-founded with Dr Subramanyam Vangala, and Dr Sreedhara Voleti, MD of INDRAS.

INDRAS focus is on consulting, contracting, and collaborative solutions to in-silico drug design, has prioritized about 8000 FDA approved drugs to top-10 from their computational studies, which were further experimented by ReaGene Innovations for various in-vitro assays on cytokine storm, antithrombotic properties, and inflammatory marker reduction through various in vitro assays, it said.

The path to find such a repurposed drug was critically planned and completed within a year of funding from the IT giant, Tech Mahindra.

The outcomes of the results of this research were recently published in a journal BioRxIV and a patent was filed both in India as well as internationally through Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

“We have found a molecule that can potentially attack Coronavirus. We have applied for a joint patent,” Malhotra said.

The results obtained are highly encouraging, and further in animal models towards preclinical, and clinical outcomes in humans are yet to be conducted for this drug to be officially nominated as a therapeutic agent for COVID-19.

(With inputs from IANS)

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