Potential Coronavirus Treatment Slated for Lab Testing

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
February 27, 2020Updated: February 27, 2020

Innovation Pharmaceuticals on Thursday said it would soon ship a potential treatment for the new coronavirus to a regional biocontainment laboratory for testing.

The drug candidate, Brilacidin, can potentially treat the COVID-19 disease, which is caused by the new virus.

Massachusetts-based Innovation Pharmaceuticals said it signed an agreement with one of the 12 biocontainment labs in the country, which are based at universities, to research Brilacidin as a treatment for the new virus, leading to plans to ship Brilacidin to the lab in the coming days. The specific lab was not identified.

Scientists at the lab will evaluate the potential antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of Brilacidin against viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The drug candidate will be tested in some cases alongside other antivirals.

Tests could be complete within several weeks of reception of Brilacidin, Innovation said in a press release.

Epoch Times Photo
A laboratory technician working on samples from people to be tested for the new coronavirus at “Fire Eye” laboratory in Wuhan, China on Feb. 6, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the company, Brilacidin is a versatile compound with broad therapeutic potential that’s in a new chemical class called defensin-mimetics. A Nature review article on coronaviruses suggests that immunomodulators like Brilacidin could, combined with other antivirals, be a promising treatment for the viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

“The underlying theory is that once the viral load is reduced, the body’s natural immune response—possibly strengthened by Brilacidin administered post-infection as an adjuvant therapy—should be better able to fight off coronavirus complications,” the company said in a statement earlier in the week.

Innovation is also exploring a partnership with a government-funded virology laboratory in Asia to test Brilacidin and has submitted a preliminary summary of Brilacidin’s potential as a novel coronavirus treatment to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

A slew of other drugs are being tested as the virus spreads to new countries on a daily basis. The first case in South America was confirmed by Brazil on Wednesday and seven other nations confirmed cases for the first time.

Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir has been promoted as one of the strongest candidates for treating the new virus. It is being tested in trials in China and the United States. Chinese researchers are also testing lopinavir and ritonavir, two drugs typically used to treat HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus infection, as well as ritonavir with Ganovo.

Ascletis Pharma Inc. said on Thursday that three patients were discharged from the hospital after being treated with Ganovo and ritonavir. Favipiravir, approved for treatment of the flu in some countries, entered clinical development for COVID-19 this month.