Development of Prophylactic Therapy as a Preventative Strategy to Reduce COVID‑19 Infections

Donkor, Kingsley | $50,000

British Columbia Thompson Rivers University 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

The rapid and progressive spread of SARS CoV-2 that causes coronavirus-induced disease (COVID-19) has profoundly affected the health of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, strained national health care systems and significantly affected global economic stability. The mechanism of SARS-CoV2 infection is the requisite binding of the virus to the membrane-bound form of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and internalization of the complex by the host cell. Recognition that ACE2 is the co-receptor for the coronavirus provides an opportunity to develop new preventative strategies to block the enzyme or reduce its expression to prevent cellular entry and SARS-CoV2 infection in tissues that include ACE2 expression such as oral, nasal, lung and intestinal epithelia. These gateway tissues likely constitute the most important routes of viral entry into the hosts. Using human derived 3D models of oral, airway and intestinal tissues, we will evaluate the mechanism of action of novel prophylactic nasa and oral products for humans which target ACE2 gateways. Our goal is to prevent or block coronavirus infection through the strategic deployment of an antiviral nasal spray and mouthwash/gargle combination that can be used in tandem prophylactically to prevent COVID‑19 infection. We intend to generate new knowledge on the use of two new technologies provided by our two collaborating companies (Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution NORS and High-Cannabidiol CBD extracts); both separately and synergistically as adjuvants, in order to develop a new preventative broad spectrum anti-microbial strategy to inhibit SARS-CoV2 and other similar bacterial or viral infections. The knowledge generated will help provide the necessary scientific support required to inform the synthesis/manufacturing strategy for both of our collaborating partners in order to develop much needed novel preventative solutions to the COVID‑19 epidemic for Canadians.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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