A newly discovered antibiotic has been shown to block the synthesis of bacterial cell walls via immutable targets, raising the prospect of a class of drugs that will not lose effect through the development of antimicrobial resistance. Clovibactin, isolated from soil bacteria, targets the cell wall precursor molecules lipid II, lipid III and undecaprenyl phosphate (C55PP), all of which have a pyrophosphate group in common.
Influenza A virus (IAV) is an RNA virus that can infect humans and also animals such as birds and pigs with high infectivity. Although there are several groups of anti-IAV drugs in the market, there is a need for new strategies due to the emergence of resistance and the high variability of the virus. One of the potential targets to watch in this disease is hemagglutinin (HA).
A study from Weill Cornell Medicine and The Jackson Laboratory has described the epigenetic mark SARS-CoV-2 left on immune system stem cells in the most severe cases of COVID-19 early in the pandemic, before the development of vaccines. In their work published in Cell on Aug. 18, 2023, the researchers presented a new methodology to analyze the epigenetic changes in monocytes and circulating hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) that give rise to monocytes. That allowed corresponding author Steven Josefowicz and his colleagues to see if there were already changes induced by COVID-19 before HSPCs differentiated into monocytes.
How severe a viral infection is depends on how much the virus is replicating, damaging cells as it does so, and on the response of the immune system. Or so one would think. “Some of the most severe cases of COVID-19 are happening in the absence of replicating virus,” Joseph Guarnieri told BioWorld. In work published in Science Translational Medicine on Aug. 9, 2023, Guarnieri and his colleagues have described how those severe cases unfold, even as there is no replicating virus to be found.
Lemonex Inc. announced that the IND application for its mRNA vaccine candidate LEM-mR203 has been approved by the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) on July 21, 2023. The company plans to evaluate LEM-mR203 as potential treatment for COVID-19, with the planned phase I clinical trial being designed to assess its safety and immunogenicity in healthy adults at Seoul National University Hospital, Korea.
A different class of antibiotics could ease the increasing resistance triggered by some gram-negative bacteria. LpxC inhibitors are not new, but all attempts to develop them have failed due to cardiovascular toxicity or ineffectiveness. A modification of the structure of these compounds may have solved the problem. Duke University scientists demonstrated the preclinical safety and efficacy of an LpxC inhibitor candidate against a wide selection of these pathogens.
Viruses can evolve and mutate rapidly to establish resistance, making the development of durable and effective antiviral therapies challenging. The innate immune system has the ability to target pathogen membranes through the expression of short antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which exert direct antimicrobial activity and can therefore act as antiviral agents against enveloped viruses. Researchers from New York University and affiliated organizations have presented the discovery and preclinical evaluation of novel family of AMP mimetics, called peptoids, as potential new antiviral candidates.
Researchers from Infex Therapeutics Ltd. have announced the nomination of a clinical candidate for its in-house developed COV-X program. The novel first-in-class small molecule is an oral pan-coronavirus papain-like protease (PLpro) inhibitor, which was selected based on preclinical data that demonstrated in vivo efficacy of the candidate a murine model of SARS-CoV-2.