Drug formulation for treating COVID-19 patients developed by researchers of JDU and Centre of Molecular & Macromolecular Studies

The team from the Faculty of Science and Technology of JDU and from the Centre of Molecular and Macromolecular Studies in Łódź, the Polish Academy of Sciences (PL: CBMiM PAN) composed of M. Turek MA, dr. E. Różycka-Sokołowska, prof. M. Makowska-Janusik, dr. M. Koprowski and dr. K. Owsianik under the direction of prof. P. Bałczewski developed a two-component drug that can be used not only in the treatment of COVID-19 disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection, but also as the prevention of its development and a way of strengthening the immune response directed against SARS-CoV-2. The invention was filed with the Polish Patent Office (- patent application of 29.04.2020, P.433749).

The main component of the developed drug is the active substance used so far to treat hypertension, affecting the ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2), which is also a receptor of SARS-CoV-2, with the help of which the virus penetrates into the cell. By blocking this receptor, the active substance can prevent the development of acute respiratory failure syndrome, which is the main cause of death of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. What is more, it also increases the Ang-(1–7) production. Currently, worldwide in less than 2 months, 38 active clinical trials have already been recorded on the effects of this active substance and other drugs in this group on SARS-CoV-2. An additional beneficial effect of the developed formulation is provided by the second component (a nutraceutical), which is a key compound that allows the strengthening of the immune response, mainly in viral infections, and also prevents ventilator-induced lung injury, which is especially vital in treating COVID-19. Importantly, the main component of the developed drug is characterised by poor solubility, which results in its low bioavailability. The developed co-amorphisation methodology, which allows for a dual-track drug system, has led to a stable pharmaceutical form, characterised by up to 24 times higher solubility of the starting component and proportionally greater bioavailability.

The carried out research was funded from the National Science Centre Preludium project (M. Turek) No UMO-2019/33/N/ST5/01602 and the statutory research subsidy of the Division of Organic Chemistry of the Centre of Molecular and Macromolecular Studies in Łódź, the Polish Academy of Sciences (PL: CBMiM PAN) No. 500-02.