COVID-19: Optimizing the Synthesis, Bioavailability and Scaling of Quercetin, a natural product potentially used for COVID‑19 treatment

Dudding, Travis | $50,000

Ontario Brock University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

In late December 2019, the world as we knew was changed by the announcement in China of the novel coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19). This devastating virus has now spread to more than 100 countries, infecting millions and causing more then two hundred thousand confirmed deaths globally as of April 20, 2020.

Quercetin, a natural product and a major dietary flavonoid found in a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and beverages, such as tea and wine, has recently shown promise in treating COVID-19. Quercetin is also known to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and anti-atherosclerotic effects in humans and has further been applied to cancer prevention and therapy. While the therapeutic potential of quercetin is promising, the poor water solubility of this flavonoid hampers its bioavailability. Improving, the water solubility and bioavailability of quercetin would be a significant step forward to its wider use as a treatment for COVID-19.

A Canadian company, Biolyse Pharma Corporation, has partnered up with Dr. Travis Dudding from Brock University to synthesize quercetin prodrugs for use as potential treatments of COVID-19. Key in this undertaking will be improving the solubility and with it bioavailability of quercetin. As well, these prodrugs will have the advantageous property of allowing for the controlled release of bioactive quercetin and/or analogous. This research and the resulting prodrugs will help position the company and Canada at a strategic place for offering low-cost, readily available therapies for potentially saving lives from COVID-19, while benefiting economically and fostering Canadian based Pharma production.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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