American Chemical Society overview of potential therapeutic agents and vaccines for COVID-19

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Since the first reports of a new coronavirus disease in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, COVID-19 has spread rapidly across the globe, threatening a pandemic. Now, researchers from CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society specialising in scientific information solutions, have issued a special report. In the report, they provide an overview of published scientific information on potential therapeutic agents and vaccines for the virus, with an emphasis on patents.

COVID-19 primarily attacks the lower respiratory system to cause viral pneumonia, but it may also affect the gastrointestinal system, heart, kidney, liver and central nervous system. If SARS-CoV-2 is not quickly contained, the virus could have devastating effects on people’s lives, worldwide health systems and the global economy. To assist with research efforts to discover therapies and vaccines for COVID-19, Cynthia Liu led a group of CAS scientists who analysed the published scientific data on SARS-CoV-2 and related coronaviruses.

The researchers reviewed the rapidly growing body of journal articles related to COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2, as well as patents having to do with human coronaviruses. From the last week of 2019 through 1 March, 2020, more than 500 journal articles related to the virus were published electronically or in print, with numbers steadily increasing week-by-week.

Topics included clinical manifestations, treatment regimens, viral structure and mechanisms, antiviral agents, and diagnostics. To date, more than 500 patents have been issued for vaccines and for therapeutic agents, such as antibodies, cytokines and nucleic acids, that could help prevent or treat coronavirus infections.

Because SARS-CoV-2 is similar to other coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, the researchers highlighted therapies previously explored for these other viruses that could also be applicable to SARS-CoV-2.

The authors do not acknowledge any funding sources for this study.

Abstract
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, this disease has spread rapidly around the globe. Considering the potential threat of a pandemic, scientists and physicians have been racing to understand this new virus and the pathophysiology of this disease to uncover possible treatment regimens and discover effective therapeutic agents and vaccines. To support the current research and development, CAS has produced a special report to provide an overview of published scientific information with an emphasis on patents in the CAS content collection. It highlights antiviral strategies involving small molecules and biologics targeting complex molecular interactions involved in coronavirus infection and replication.
The drug-repurposing effort documented herein focuses primarily on agents known to be effective against other RNA viruses including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. The patent analysis of coronavirus-related biologics includes therapeutic antibodies, cytokines, and nucleic acid-based therapies targeting virus gene expression as well as various types of vaccines. More than 500 patents disclose methodologies of these four biologics with the potential for treating and preventing coronavirus infections, which may be applicable to COVID-19. The information included in this report provides a strong intellectual groundwork for the ongoing development of therapeutic agents and vaccines.

Authors
Cynthia Liu, Qiongqiong Zhou, Yingzhu Li, Linda V Garner, Steve P Watkins, Linda J Carter, Jeffrey Smoot, Anne C Gregg, Angela D Daniels, Susan Jervey, Dana Albaiu

American Chemical Society material

ACS Central Science abstract

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