Longstanding treatments for tapeworm could take on COVID-19
A decade ago, Kim Janda suffered from Clostridioides – a bacterial infection whose multi-drug-resistant strains contribute to diarrheal disease outbreaks around the world. The experience prompted him to use his role as director of the Worm Institute at California’s Scripps Research to develop new and better treatments using a library of modified salicylanilides – molecules already well-established as a counter against tapeworm infection.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, Janda and his team have begun screening their library for antiviral properties against COVID-19 – and they’ve already uncovered some promising leads. One standout compound – mysteriously (or banally) named “No 11” – was readily absorbed into the bloodstream and was seen to interfere with endocytosis of SARS-CoV-2, hampering the production of new viral particles. Janda believes that “11” would have no trouble tackling COVID-19 variants, as it acts inside cells and not on viral spikes.