News out of Johns Hopkins & Experimental Drug Trials from Innovation Pharmaceuticals

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Today we’re going to be taking a look at Johns Hopkins because it’s been announced that a promising new therapy for Covid-19 treatment coming out of the university has been fast-tracked.  Then we’ll take a look at Brilacidin, an experimental drug from Innovation Pharmaceutical.

Arturo Casadevall, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins School, and collaborators at Johns Hopkins have been working hard to develop a serum therapy to treat COVID-19 using antibodies from patients who have recovered from the virus.

On March 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the green light for researchers to request emergency authorization for the use of such therapies. In early April, the FDA approved the request from Johns Hopkins to test their blood plasma therapy.  The treatment uses the blood sera from COVID-19 patients that have recovered in order to treat severe cases or to boost immunity for people that are high risk of contracting the virus.

This antibody therapy has been used since the 1890s to fight diseases and it involves a well-established and safe method of blood donation. Just in the last few weeks, Casadevall and other physicians from around the country have begun to establish a network of more than 40 hospitals and blood banks in 20 different states that can start to collect and process the blood plasma from survivors of the Corona virus. They say that if the trials here in the US are promising, we could see thousands of survivors lining up to donate their antibody-rich plasma.

This is a developing story we are going to keep our eye on, in the meantime we’re going to look at another experimental drug to treat the virus that will be seeing testing and trials starting this coming week, Brilacidin from Innovation Pharmaceuticals.

From Innovation Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, and they have been informed that their defensin-mimetic drug candidate will be seeing US clinical trials beginning the week of May 4.  The drug’s initial testing shows that it had antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that caused Covid-19) in Vero (African green monkey kidney) cells.  The testing of Brilacidin was conducted by researchers at one of the U.S. Regional Biocontainment Laboratories

The following studies proposed with their next phase of testing is as follows…

  • Testing Brilacidin’s direct activity on SARS-CoV-2 in human lung cells
  • Obtaining the in vitro concentration of Brilacidin that gives half-maximal response
  • Determining impact of multiple dose exposure of Brilacidin on SARS-CoV-2
  • Evaluating time-to-treatment windows as a post-exposure therapeutic
  • Exploring if Brilacidin has synergistic properties with other small molecules that have antiviral activity.

Brilacidin is one of the few drugs targeting COVID-19 that has been tested in Phase 2 human trials, but as always remember to check back here at the ABN blog for up to date news on other experimental drugs related to the Coronavirus.

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