A team of Texas A&M researchers has developed a medication that they hope will combat the symptoms of COVID-19.
Texas A&M professor of chemistry, Dr. Wenshe Liu, has led a team of graduate student researchers to develop MPI8, a medication that they believe could treat patients suffering from COVID-19.
"There was a time when the pandemic had just started in Wuhan, China," said Liu. "The reason we jumped on this research is because I have a relative in Wuhan. So they asked me about a possible medication.”
Liu and fellow researchers have spent over a year-and-a-half in laboratories, working to prepare an ideal molecular medication that could combat the effects of COVID-19.
Once the virus has entered a body, the medicine would stop the replication of virus cells.
"Small molecule medicine will be much cheaper than vaccines," Liu noted. "For small-molecule medicine, like what we have been making, we can easily make a kilogram quantity.”
While preventative medicine like vaccinations can’t combat all new mutations of disease, Liu said his team’s drug would be effective against numerous variants of Coronavirus.
So far, according to Texas A&M professor of medicine, Dr. Jason McKnight, only the medication Remdesivir has been FDA approved to treat COVID-19 patients.
"That has only been approved in the hospital setting," he explained. "And so the general public that gets a very mild case of COVID, and who doesn’t end up hospitalized, is never a candidate.”
Dr. McKnight said medications such as MPI8 could be important in keeping COVID-19 patients well enough to stay out of hospitals.
“If this medication works, it will be great," he stated. "Because if we can block the viral phase, or blunt the response, then we can also probably blunt and/or block the inflammatory phase, which is where people end up hospitalized or dying from COVID.”
The medication will move forward to be reviewed by the FDA for approval.
According to Texas A&M, the university has already reached an agreement for property rights of the medication with California company Sorrento Therapeutics.
Dr. Liu hopes the medication could be available for distribution as early as next summer.