NewsCorona wonder weapon from Munich? Researchers report important breakthrough

Corona wonder weapon from Munich? Researchers report important breakthrough

In the fight against Corona, a decisive contribution could be made in Munich. An initial interim conclusion from the experts involved is optimistic.

Munich – Will a Munich research team make the big breakthrough in the fight against Corona? At least the first reports appear promising. The scientists have succeeded in developing a protein that reliably prevents infection by the virus and its variants in cell experiments. Ulrike Protzer from the Institute of Virology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) informed on Tuesday (December 14th) about the status of drug research.

According to the professor, the most effective drug therapies against the coronavirus so far are so-called antibody therapies. However, Protzer warns that these are associated with hurdles: “Both vaccines and antibody drugs have the problem that the virus evades them a little with each successful mutation.” The result would be so-called “immune escape” variants. So far there are two approved drugs in the EU: Ronapreve from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche and Regkirona from the manufacturer Celltrion from South Korea.

Corona drug from Munich as a “miracle weapon”? That is the state of research

The strategy of the scientists from TUM, the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (LMU), Helmholtz Munich and the Munich-based Formycon AG is different. The research team was able to create an active ingredient that blocks the virus’ spike protein. The virus could be completely neutralized in this way in cell culture experiments. An infection can be prevented in this way, according to a press release from TUM.

“Even if the vaccination (the start for children is delayed in Munich) prevents severe disease progression very reliably, the significantly more contagious delta and omicron variants have shown that both those who have recovered and those who have been vaccinated can become infected again,” Protzer sums up the current pandemic Situation together. Other, more contagious variants of the virus could possibly emerge. Against this background, in addition to vaccination, a broadly effective active ingredient against the virus is indispensable.

Munich: Research on corona drug continues – experiments with Omikron have started

So far, the laboratory tests with the fusion protein have focused on the original virus and the variants alpha, beta and delta – with promising results, according to the announcement. Trials with the omicron variant classified as questionable have just begun. The researchers involved expect to be able to start clinical studies in the first half of 2022.

By the way: Our Munich newsletter keeps you up-to-date with all the latest news from the state capital.

Headline list image: © Sebastian Gollnow

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