New laboratory development can speed up validation of effectiveness for potential COVID-19 treatments


LONDON, ON, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ - Fanshawe College's Centre for Research and Innovation has developed a safe, rapid and inexpensive method to identify the effectiveness of potential COVID-19 drug treatments.

Principal investigator Abdulla Mahboob, PhD in biotechnology with experience in the biochemistry of RNA viruses, has developed artificial copies of the SARS-COV-2 virus called 'replicons' that can be transferred into mammalian cells. The replicons are non-infectious, containing all the non-structural genes of the virus, but missing the genes allowing the virus to assemble into an infectious agent. This enables testing of new COVID-19 drug therapies against the replicon outside of the more expensive biosafety level-2 laboratories.

Fanshawe's replicon has also been developed with two problematic mutations in the current pandemic: one that is associated with higher mortality and another that is resistant against the current treatment remdesivir. Any pharmaceutical company would be able to use the lab-created replicons to rapidly screen a library of potential drug treatments for effectiveness against COVID-19.

"We are ready to work with a commercial partner who can actively participate in this venture to take our proof-of-concept success from our small college lab to large-scale application," says Mahboob. "Our development, called the "Flexicon", can make treatment testing much faster and more accessible to many labs around the world."

Mahboob's team is simultaneously working with the National Institutes of Health in the United States to validate a peptide-inhibitor treatment option for COVID-19.

"The faster we can effectively test the latest treatment options, the better our chances of potentially saving lives," adds Mahboob.

About Fanshawe College
Fanshawe College is one of Ontario's largest colleges, helping people unlock their potential and achieve success for more than 50 years. With a focus on applying innovation across all aspects of Fanshawe, the College opens up a world of possibilities by offering more than 200 degree, diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs to students from more than 100 countries each year. Fanshawe's Centre for Research and Innovation drives the economy in Southwestern Ontario and beyond forward by solving applied research needs through leading expertise.

Cision View original content:

SOURCE Fanshawe College - Research


Back to news