Open source Drug Discovery
From the start of Covid Moonshot the team made all of the research data publicly available. This is a rare thing in life sciences, where protection of intellectual property is key to eventual returns on investment. During the first lockdown, and subsequent research efforts, this yielded a huge response from global medicinal chemistry expertise. MedChemica’s own Ed Griffen has led the medicinal chemistry effort, as part of the broad team, for a year now.
A White-Knuckle ride indeed…
Published today is a review of the progress so far, and the emotional ups-and-downs of running an open source project – great this has come out in Nature reviews. For most of 2020 it was unclear if vaccines where going to be successful. If they had failed the world would be looking for drug therapies. This had been in the case with HIV, after 10 years of attempts to generate a vaccine had failed it was realised drug treatment was the only option to holding back the virus. The effort on Covid Moonshot is still intense with very large meetings of chemists: the drive is excellence. There is still an unmet need for drug treatments and further mutations of the virus emerge. Hence the project is still a rapid moving roller coaster.
The picture is one of the advanced compounds bound into the SAR-COV2 protease. This inhibits part of the viral mechanism to replicate in host cells and so reduces the viral load. Again the approach of protease inhibition is a proven mechanism, thanks to HIV research, of reducing the effects of infection.
A white-knuckle ride of open COVID drug discovery
Frank von Delft, Mark Calmiano, John Chodera, Ed Griffen, Alpha Lee, Nir London, Tatiana Matviuk, Ben Perry, Matt Robinson & Annette von Delft Nature, 14th June 2021
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