Anti-Diabetic Drug: A Therapeutic Solution for COVID-19

An anti-diabetic drug ‘Ertugliflozin’ might provide a therapeutic solution to the COVID-19 infection as a repurposed drug. This is following ‘in-vitro’ and ‘in-silico’ studies done by the ASPIRE-BioNEST, a life sciences incubator jointly funded by Department of Biotechnology and University of Hyderabad (UoH), ReaGene Innovations and INDRAS Private Limited.

The findings announced here on Thursday indicate that this repurposed drug not only binds effectively to the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein of COVID-19 but also displays significant anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties in a 3D human vascular lung model, both of which are fundamentals in COVID-19 infection, said an official press release.

“This offers a safe, ready-to-use, cost-effective solution to humans who contract COVID-19 and immense potential to treat the infection. Our research proves its efficacy in the test-tube assays,” said CEO of ReaGene Innovations Uday Saxena. This start-up is co-founded by Dr. Subramanyam Vangala, and Dr. Sreedhara Voleti, MD of INDRAS. Ertugliflozin is an FDA approved drug for Type-2 diabetes, works as an inhibitor by removing excessive glucose through urine.

INDRAS focus is on consulting, contracting, and collaborative solutions to in-silico drug design, has prioritised about 8,000 FDA approved drugs to top-10 from their computational studies, which were further experimented by ReaGene Innovations for various in-vitro assays on cytokine storm, antithrombotic properties, and inflammatory marker reduction through various in vitro assays.

The outcomes of the results of this research were recently published in a journal (BioRxIV) and a patent was filed. “We have found a molecule that can potentially attack coronavirus. We have applied for a joint patent,” said Mr. Malhotra. The results are highly encouraging, and further in animal models towards preclinical, and clinical outcomes in humans are yet to be conducted for

this drug to be officially nominated as a therapeutic agent for COVID-19.

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