Infection Medicine joins the fight against COVID-19
COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 and like all viruses there are many ways to combat the infection, many centres across the university are stepping forward with their knowledge and expertise to help in this fight. As specialist in this field, Infection Medicine is doing all they can to utilise their expertise in this difficult time.
The Haas group has formed many collaborations with Universities and companies across the world in the fight against COVID-19: Fudan University in Shanghai, Stanford University BioADD drug discovery facility, and Debiopharm to name a few. Identification of drugs with antiviral activity is paramount in treating the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and potentially in future outbreaks to come, and so testing FDA approved drugs is a focus of the group. As these drugs are already approved for clinical use, their repurposing can be swift and effective, this will provide quick relief to the health services and hopefully save lives. Currently we are testing a wide range of drugs (>50) in vitro from small molecule inhibitors, to biological therapeutics, to natural remedies, and new interferon treatments. Preliminary studies have provided promising results and single or combination treatments could be used to treat patients in the near future.
The lab is also growing clinical samples of the four circulating common cold corona viruses and SARS-CoV2 to determine whether any of these drugs would be broad acting against all strains of the virus to aid future treatment of diseases like COVID-19. Alongside this the group is analysing the new data coming out of European countries with regard to morbidity rate and comparing this to China and other countries which were hit with the virus at the beginning of the outbreak. This is interesting as it allows us to advise on how healthcare provision and population stratification play a role in the outcome of COVID-19 for each country.
Members of the group have all volunteered to aid the NHS Clinical Testing in Edinburgh in order to relieve the burden on the NHS.