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A new anti-viral drug developed by Pneumagen, a University of St Andrews spin out company, has had positive results in laboratory tests against COVID-19.

Pneumagen Ltd announced results from three separate in vitro studies into preventing coronavirus infections, including SARS-CoV-2 infection the cause of COVID-19, using Neumifil™ and other first-in-class multivalent Carbohydrate Binding Modules (mCBMs), generated using its proprietary GlycoTarge™ platform. The successful studies involved treating infection and blocking new infections.

Working closely with Public Health England’s Porton facility, and separately with the University of Glasgow’s MRC Centre for Virus Research, Pneumagen has tested the activity of its mCBMs against coronaviruses, using plaque reduction assays. At both Porton and the University of Glasgow, Pneumagen’s mCBMs were found to reduce the number of SARS-CoV-2 plaques in these assays when the mCBMs were used in both prevention and treatment of infection. Pneumagen now wants to begin clinical testing for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Douglas Thomson, CEO of Pneumagen, said: “Today’s positive results from in vitro studies of our mCBMs against coronaviruses show that glycan binding has the potential to prevent and treat infection. “This further supports the value of our universal therapeutic modality to block access to lung cells of SARS-CoV-2, as well as other viruses, that cause respiratory tract infections, providing the potential for a pan-viral respiratory product. Our goal is now to rapidly begin clinical testing for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”

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