Rensselaer Professor, Collaborators Working to Develop Nasal Spray to Fight COVID-19 – Spotlight News – The Home of The Spot 518
Rensselaer Professor, Collaborators Working to Develop Nasal Spray to Fight COVID-19 – Spotlight News – The Home of The Spot 518

Rensselaer Professor, Collaborators Working to Develop Nasal Spray to Fight COVID-19 – Spotlight News – The Home of The Spot 518

TROY – Rensselaer Professor Jonathan Dordick and collaborators from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Albany Medical College have been awarded $ 500,000 from the New York State Biodefense Commercialization Fund to engage in research to develop a Pentosan Polysulfate (PPS) -based nasal spray to block COVID-19 .

“Despite advances in both therapeutic agents and vaccines against COVID-19, there remains a critical need to develop a simple, easy-to-use and highly effective prophylactic to prevent transmission and serious illness due to infection with SARS. CoV-2. ” said Dr. Dordick, Professor of Chemical / Biological Engineering at Rensselaer and Co-Director of the Heparin Applied Research Center (HARC). “Since the virus uses the nasal passages as a first line of infection, an ideal approach is to use a safe and effective nasal spray. We have shown that pentosan polysulfate (PPS), an FDA-approved drug for a completely different indication, shows very strong binding to SARS -CoV-2, thereby neutralizing the virus.Our goal is now to incorporate PPS into a nasal spray formulation to block SARS-CoV-2 infection either before or after exposure.In addition, a similar infection mechanism is used by a number of viruses, including other coronaviruses and some common cold viruses and therefore the PPS-based nasal spray may be useful against other respiratory infections. “

Dr. Dordick is the primary investigator (PI) of the project and will lead the research. He has expertise in human cell culture and high-throughput screening, SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus preparation and screening, drug discovery and toxicology. He has founded four companies, including three in the field of drug research, and he will be responsible for project supervision. The research group’s management also includes Dr. Robert Linhardt, Constellation Chair at Rensselaer, Department of Chemistry / Chemical Biology, and co-director of HARC, and Dr. Dennis Metzger, Department of Immunology and Microbial Disease, Albany Medical College. Dr. Linhardt is an expert in pharmaceutical chemistry, glycobiology and sulfated polysaccharides and will be responsible for PPS chemistry and formulation. Dr. Metzger will be responsible for in vitro and in vivo studies with patient-derived SARS-CoV-2 strains.

Despite the success of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection and reduce the severity of breakthrough infections, there remains a remarkable resistance to vaccination, and declining immunity that vaccines offer to new variants may necessitate new generations of vaccines. There have been successes in promoting therapeutics such as dexamethasone, remdesivir, molnupiravir, paxlovid and monoclonal antibodies. None of the vaccines and therapeutics allow for a combined prophylactic / early therapeutic agent that can be administered at home and is widely used for other respiratory infections. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new agents for the prophylaxis / early treatment of COVID-19.

Use at home or in the doctor’s office is expected to have a high degree of public acceptance and will help counter outbreaks of COVID-19, especially as new variants emerge and we enter the endemic phase of the disease. A prophylactic nasal spray to prevent COVID-19 infection can be used before or after exposure and can be used daily by people who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons. People in healthcare, transportation, food services are particularly vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 and will benefit from the use of a prophylactic nasal spray. We expect the PPS nasal spray to be useful against future threats of infectious diseases, and the effect of the spray is likely to extend far beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“This important work at the interface between life sciences and engineering by Dr. Dordick and his team embodies Rensselaer’s basic mission – ‘the application of science for the common purpose of life’ – and will have a major impact on human health,” said Shekhar Garde, Dean of the School of Engineering. in Rensselaer.

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