COVID-19 new priority in NOVIRUSES2BRAIN project

Wednesday, 22 April, 2020
NOVIRUSES2BRAIN includes COVID-19 in their spectrum of analysis developing a solution that fights all viruses: “one size fits all”.

NOVIRUSES2BRAIN is an EIC Pathfinder-Open project, which is developing a unique drug to eradicate multiple viral species simultaneously from the central nervous system of co-infected individuals.

Following a recent discovery of the COVID19 about patients losing the sense of  smell and taste, which has been proofed to affect, directly or indirectly, nerve cells, the NOVIRUSES2BRAIN project has promptly decided to include the analysis of  SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in the list of viruses to be addressed by their research.

The philosophy behind the project, as explained by his coordinator Miguel Castanho , is that the diversity of viruses that infect humans is immense. The probability of simultaneous infections is high although this possibility is largely overlooked while developing antiviral drugs. This probability is even higher for viruses that infect humans through the same animal vector, such as Aedes mosquitos. Dengue virus, Zika virus, and Chikungunya virus, just to name a few, are all transmitted by the same mosquito. NOVIRUSES2BRAIN takes into account this reality and develop broad spectrum antiviral drugs capable of inactivating different viruses simultaneously, in particular those transmitted through Aedes mosquitos. That’s where the motto “one size fits all” comes from.

NOVIRUSES2BRAIN approach differs from currently used research because it aims to disrupt the virus integrity, not a specific viral protein. The project explores common Achilles heels that are not a specific protein of  certain viral species.

Even if the project started only in September 2019, they have developed already innovative molecules which were synthetized. They are now making toxicology tests and waiting to confirm their safety. Although the situation with the COVID-19 doesn’t make their work easy, as their academic institutes are under lockdown,  they  are restless and positive in advancing their research and finding a solution for the COVID-19 virus and many others.