Posts Tagged ‘PureTech’

Boston biotech tries to retrofit a drug to prevent COVID-19’s aftereffects

Reporter : Irina Robu, PhD

Antivirals are a class of medications that can be used to treat viral infections. Yet, most viral infections can be solved quickly in immunocompetent individuals. The goal of the viral therapy is to minimize symptoms and infectivity as well as cut the duration of the illness. These antiviral drugs act by arresting the viral replication cycle at various stages and they do not deactivate or destroy the microbe.

Yet, as the world scrambles to find antiviral treatments and vaccines for the novel coronavirus, some scientists are looking ahead of the problem partly because many COVID-19 survivors may have long-term lung injuries and the current medicine has little to offer.

There is limited data on how patients with COVID-19 are left with long term fibrosis or scarring of the lung. Since the novel coronavirus has already infected more than 5 million people worldwide, Pure Health company in Boston believes it might have a solution by making changes to an older drug that has helped avoid scarring in different lung tissue. The problem with the older drugs is that patients can take nine pills a day and side effects include toxicity, nausea and diarrhea.

With these questions in mind, PureTech fiddled with pirfenidone’s hydrogen atoms through a process, which gives molecules a longer half-life and more durable effect. Penciclovir is an acyclic guanine analogue that is chemically similar to acyclovir. Penciclovir is monophosphorylated by TK and subsequently by cellular kinases into active penciclovir-triphosphate, which inhibits herpes DNA polymerase activity by serving as a competitive inhibitor of deoxyguanosine triphosphate. The resulting drug, LYT-100, should be more tolerable than pirfenidone, but still keep the original medicine’s benefits for fibrosis and inflammation.

The PureTech company plans to enroll 150 patients who have respiratory problems related to COVID-19 to test their theory. The patients will get either LYT-100 or a placebo and the company plan to measure whether the drug improves lung function after up to three months of treatment. Whether LYT-100 can perform the same way as pirfenidone has done is still up for debate. Pirfenidone is presently effective in slowing down the process of fibrosis, but there is no evidence to prevent scarring.

If at all possible, doctors can determine which patients with COVID-19 can lead to fibrosis. According to PureTech, LYT-100 could minimize the horrible effects of the disease on immune systems and lungs and it can be a useful medicine to deal with the medical aftermath of COVID-19.




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