A team of biochemists and virologists at Goethe University Frankfurt and the Frankfurt University Hospital in Germany were able to observe how human cells change upon infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 in people. The scientists tested a series of compounds in laboratory models and found some that slowed down or stopped virus reproduction. These results, published online on May 14, 2020 in Nature (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2332-7_reference.pdf), have enabled the search for an active substance to be narrowed down to a small number of already approved drugs. The Nature article is titled “Proteomics of SARS-CoV-2-Infected Host Cells Reveals Therapy Targets.” Based on these findings, a US company (Moleculin Biotech) reports that it is preparing clinical trials. A Canadian company (Bausch Health Americas) is also starting a clinical study with a different substance. Since the start of February, the Medical Virology Department of the Frankfurt University Hospital has been in possession of a SARS-CoV-2 infection cell culture system. The Frankfurt scientists in Professor Sandra Ciesek's (photo) team succeeded in cultivating the virus in colon cells from swabs taken from two infected individuals returning from Wuhan (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2001899). Using a technique developed at the Institute for Biochemistry II at Goethe University Frankfurt, researchers from both institutions were, together, able to show how a SARS-CoV-2 infection changes the human host cells.
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