Dundee University has joined a worldwide network trying to repurpose existing drugs to help in the fight against coronavirus.
As scientist across the world race to find a vaccine for Covid-19, the international research movement is seeking to find the best ways that already existing drugs can be used to help fight the virus.
The network was established by Scripps Research and uses ReFRAME, a collection of drugs known to be safe for human use.
It is hoped ReFRAME can help find antiviral compounds that are effective against Covid-19.
Dundee University is joining experts from the US, Europe and Asia to screen the vast combination of drugs that may be effective.
Professor David Gray, head of biology and professor of Translational Biology at Dundee University’s Drug Discovery Unit, is part of the collaboration.
He said: “This is an excellent example of the international research community coming together quickly to try and find drugs that could be rapidly developed for use against Covid-19.
“It is the combination of expertise from around the world that will give us our best chance of finding drugs that can be used to successfully treat or control Covid-19.”
Dundee’s involvement in the project also includes Professor Andrew Hopkins and the pharmaceutical company Exscientia, a spin-out from the university.
Calibr, the drug development division of Scripps Research, established the ReFRAME collection in 2018 with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to tackle areas of unmet medical needs, particularly tropical diseases.
It allows treatment to be rapidly screened as the drugs have already been tested for human use.
Peter Schultz, president and CEO of Scripps Research, said: “Repurposing drugs that have already been approved for use in humans, or compounds for which we have ample safety data, offers the most rapid path to finding an antiviral drug or drug combination that is effective against Covid-19.”
The experiments test hundreds or thousands of compounds at a time to test drugs that prevent the virus from entering, infecting or replicating in human cells.
Researchers are also screening for compounds that could be taken in combination with other drugs to improve the efficacy of antivirals.
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