COVPHA – To Combat co-infections in COVID-19 patients with phages

© Helmholtz Zentrum München

It is quite common for hospitalized COVID-19 patients to develop super- or co-infections with multi-resistant bacteria, especially if they are admitted to the intensive care unit. The co-infecting bacteria in COVID-19 patients will first be identified at species-level. Based on this, the research team will use an innovative phage isolation method ("viral-tagging") to combine the most effective therapeutic phages into phage cocktails and test their efficacy and safety in vivo using a mouse lung infection model. These phage cocktails will help to save the lives of COVID-19 patients suffering from bacterial co-infection. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

RAIDCOVID - Search for Rapid identification of novel antiviral inhibitors for COVID-19 therapy

Using already established functional assays, various natural plant extracts with known antiviral activity and drugs that are already approved for other indications will be screened against SARS-CoV-2. This may enable the faster identification and development of novel drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.

RNACoVIN - Project on the Development of Innovative Compounds for the Treatment of Coronavirus Infections

©Jezper; Adobe Stock

Scientists at the Center together with colleagues from the biotech company Dynamic Biosensors will be working on the project, RNACoVIN to develop new active substances for the treatment of infection due to the coronavirus. The aim is to develop RNA-derived molecules that effectively inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 RNA polymerase protein complex.

In preliminary work, the research team has already developed a series of suitable RNA-derived inhibitors that promise greater efficiency than Remdesivir. Their stability, cellular targeting and applicability are now to be improved within the framework of this one-year RNACoVIN project.

The RNA-derived inhibitors represent a novel and innovative drug concept to suppress the replication of the viral genome. This collaboration with Dynamic Biosensors enables an efficient and rapid development and screening of the compounds.

RipCon – Artificial Intelligence to identify approved drugs usable against COVID-19

Using molecular network approaches and artificial intelligence we aim to identify approved drugs that may be repurposed for treatment of COVID-19.  We will experimentally measure all interactions of viral proteins with human host proteins to understand how coronaviruses perturb and change the molecular host networks.

In the second phase of the project we will investigate how genetic variation of humans and viruses affects these physical interactions and how these changes impact disease severity and treatment options. The project is funded by the EU.