Locally developed coronavirus inhibitor shows positive early results

Li Qian
Animal tests suggest that EK1, a pan-coronavirus fusion inhibitor developed by Chinese scientists, could be an effective treatment against COVID-19.
Li Qian

Chinese scientists are testing a self-developed complex on its potential to work against COVID-19, providing a possible new approach to the prevention and treatment of the coronavirus, according to an online science lecture.

EK1, a pan-coronavirus fusion inhibitor developed by local scientists, may be effective on COVID-19, leading researcher Jiang Shibo, a professor at the School of Basic Medical Sciences at Fudan University, said during the lecture.

Testing on mice showed that EK1 is effective in preventing and treating common coronavirus OC43 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Researchers are now doing further tests in Wuhan, Jiang said.

Worldwide, 115 vaccine candidates are included on the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 vaccine R&D list. Of the confirmed active candidates, 14 are developed by Chinese companies and institutions, Jiang said.

“Researchers around the world should share information and join hands to develop a vaccine against COVID-19,” he said.

Zhao Guoping, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said big data can help better understand and control pandemic.

Advancing technologies can also help authorities trace the movements of infected people, make predictions about asymptomatic cases and sequence the genome of COVID-19, Zhao said.

“The shared and open data offers strong support in the research and development of a vaccine and promotes international cooperation in the fight against the virus,” said Zhu Yue, chief executive officer of Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Resources Center.

The lecture was part of the Science Salon series initiated by the center in May last year. It is designed to promote exchanges and cooperation between local researchers and the world’s academic journals, and to support the city’s goal to become an innovation center with global reach.

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