An Oxford-based firm that uses artificial intelligence to develop new medicines has teamed up with a UK national science facility to screen more than 15,000 drugs for their effectiveness as a treatment for Covid-19.
Exscientia, a spinoff company from the University of Dundee that is now based in Oxford science park, said it had gained access to a large collection of existing drugs held by the Scripps research institute in California and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It will screen them in partnership with Diamond Light Source near Oxford, which works like a giant microscope and generates bright light that allows scientists to study viruses.
Exscientia hopes to discover a drug that can be repurposed to treat coronavirus within the next six to 12 months, whereupon it would be tested on Covid-19 patients, Prof Andrew Hopkins, the firm’s chief executive, told the Guardian. Any potential treatment could be made available for compassionate use before clinical trials are completed, but this would depend on how much can be manufactured quickly.
The drug collection, which comprises more than 15,000 compounds that have been approved and tested for human safety in clinical trials or pre-clinical studies, has been shipped from California to Oxford.
Prof David Stuart, director of life sciences at Diamond and professor of structural biology at Oxford University, said: “The drugs we are testing have either been approved by the [US regulator] FDA for other diseases or have been extensively tested for human safety. By being able to repurpose existing molecules, we can save a lot of time in the drug discovery process, meaning a faster route to clinical trials, and potentially a treatment for patients.”
Exscientia is using its biosensor technology to screen the drug molecules for effectiveness against Sars-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.
Image Credit: Geoff Caddick/AFP via Getty Images
News This Week
Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned. Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of [...]
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have developed a safer and more efficient way to deliver a promising new method for treating cancer and liver disorders and for vaccination -- including a COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna [...]
Despite its advantages over other vaccine technologies for Covid-19, adenovirus vector vaccines are likely to be tripped up by pre-existing antibodies to the vectors used and the need for a second injection to boost [...]
When the first coronavirus cases in Chicago appeared in January, they bore the same genetic signatures as a germ that emerged in China weeks before. But as Egon Ozer, an infectious-disease specialist at the Northwestern University [...]
Park Systems presents “NanoScientific Symposium on Nano Applications for a Changing World” sponsored by Physics World and Nanotechnology World Association. Park Systems launched this online event for researchers and scientists in nanoscience and nanotechnology [...]
Notwithstanding the wishful thinking of certain irresponsible and incompetent public figures, the only options to control and deal with the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are fast, cheap, reliable, [...]
From the Annals of Neurology: In less than 6 months, the severe acute respiratory syndrome‐coronavirus type 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) has spread worldwide infecting nearly 6 million people and killing over 350,000. Initially thought to be restricted [...]
A cheap steroid has become the first life-saving treatment in the Covid-19 pandemic, described by scientists as a major breakthrough and raising hopes for the survival of thousands of the most seriously ill. Dexamethasone [...]
Clinical researchers are this week set to begin human trials of a new coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers at Imperial College London. The study will be the first time the vaccine has been trialled in humans [...]
A form of the novel coronavirus which has become the dominant type in much of the world may have done so thanks to a mutation that allows it to better latch onto human hosts’ [...]
A widely available and inexpensive drug that is used to ease the symptoms of indigestion may prove a worthy contender for treating COVID-19 infection in those whose disease doesn’t require admission to hospital, suggest [...]
One of the most common COVID-19 tests involves a long swab pressed deep into the nasal cavities – and while the test can be administered quickly, it has been described as unpleasant and uncomfortable. [...]
Nature wades through the literature on the new coronavirus — and summarizes key papers as they appear: 1 June — Positive coronavirus test is no guarantee of infectiousness People with COVID-19 are unlikely to [...]
In April, blood clots emerged as one of the many mysterious symptoms attributed to Covid-19, a disease that had initially been thought to largely affect the lungs in the form of pneumonia. Quickly after came [...]
Scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) developed an experimental diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can visually detect the presence of the virus in 10 minutes. It uses a simple assay [...]
Rheumatologists at the University of Alberta are flagging similarities between the deaths of some COVID-19 patients and those with rheumatic illnesses, and are testing proven rheumatic treatments to see whether they help against [...]