A new therapeutic strategy to fight SARS-CoV-2 infection

To completely hinder the pandemic spread of the virus, in addition to preventive measures, it is necessary to implement frontline and widely accessible treatment strategies. Thus, the design and functional validation of a pan-coronavirus antagonizing pharmaceutical compound with a mechanism of action insensitive to the mutational state of the virus appears to be the ideal scientific and socioeconomic approach to combat present and future coronavirus infections.

The NANO-CNR team, using in-silico, in vivo and in vitro methodologies, is currently active in the design and experimental validation of an antiviral strategy based on a product capable of highly selectively inhibiting the binding of the Spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants to cell receptors, preventing the virus from entering target cells.

The development of a new therapeutic strategy to combat SARS-CoV-2 infection is currently underway within an active PRIN2020 project. The entry of the virus into target cells is planned to be blocked through a compound “designed” to have a bimodular structure and having the human ACE2 receptor as its therapeutic target. This compound will be able to be manufactured at low cost and be active against all SARS CoV-2 variants with phenotypic Spike protein mutation contributing to the generation of an immunological memory against SARS CoV-2, in particular against RBD localized on the spike protein. similar to a recombinant subunit vaccine.

PeopleAntonella Battisti, Giorgia Brancolini*, Antonella Sgarbossa, Valentina Tozzini, Alessandro Mossa
Keywordsinfectious diseases; biophysical chemistry; simulation of biological systems; biomedical engineering; enzymatic assays; SARS-Cov-2 COVID
Methods, techniquesMolecular Dynamics; Modelling Binding Kinetics; Coarse Grained Models; TIRF; Fluorescence spectroscopy; Advanced microscopy techniques
Granted projects
2022-2025: INF-ACT PE13 Spoke 5 PNRR (CUP B53C20040570005) “One Health Basic and Translational Research Actions addressing Unmet Needs on Emerging Infectious Diseases” (PI G. Brancolini)
2022-2025: PRIN2020 Project (cod. 2020LW7XWH) “Early Phase Preclinical Development of PACECOR, a Mutation-Independent Anti-SARS-Co2 Therapeutic Strategy” (PI G. Brancolini)
2020-2022: Supercomputing project “Molecular strategies to inhibit the COVID-19-cell interaction” at ORNL, USA. CMS2020-B-00433. Granted 1.000.000 CPU hours (2 years). (PI G Brancolini)
CollaborationsUniPr; IRST “Dino Amadori” Meldola; UniFe, UniBo; Istituto Mario Negri; UniPd
*Contact person: giorgia.brancolini@nano.cnr.it