Policy & Regulation
Fanshawe College's newly developed replicons can speed up validation of effectiveness for potential COVID-19 treatments
16 October 2020 -

Fanshawe College in Ontario, Canada said on Thursday that its Centre for Research and Innovation has developed a safe, rapid and inexpensive method to identify the effectiveness of potential COVID-19 drug treatments.

Principal investigator Abdulla Mahboob, PhD has created artificial copies of the SARS-COV-2 virus called replicons that can be transferred into mammalian cells. The replicons are non-infectious, with the non-structural genes of the virus but missing the genes allowing the virus to assemble into an infectious agent. This enables testing of new COVID-19 drug therapies against the replicon outside of expensive biosafety level-2 laboratories.

Dr Mahboob's replicon has been developed with two problematic mutations in the current pandemic: one that is associated with higher mortality and another that is resistant against the current treatment remdesivir.

The team is working with the National Institutes of Health in the US to validate a peptide-inhibitor treatment option for COVID-19.



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