Instead of blindly screening molecules, which takes a long time and is expensive, the team led by Dr Brijesh Rathi performed extensive in-silico studies. Subsequently testing was carried out at Loyola University Chicago and University of New Mexico, USA against SARS-CoV-2 in culture.
Rathi is an assistant professor in the Chemistry department of Hansraj College. He did his post-doctoral research from MIT, Cambridge.
Encouraged with the results, Rathi along with his collaborators, Prof Ravi Durvasula and Dr P Kempaiah from Loyola University Chicago and Dr Steven Bradfute from University of New Mexico, USA have jointly filed US provisional patent application: “Calxinin Compositions and Method for Treating Viral Infections”.
Subsequently, negotiations have progressed with UK-based company Redcliffe Bioscience for the clinical trials of Calxinin, and the team is hopeful to shorlty deliver a drug candidate against this deadly virus.
Redcliffe BioScience, which will conduct clinical trials, issued a letter of intent on May 29.
The UK-based company said, “This Letter of Intent is designed to foster a cooperation with Hansraj College (University of Delhi), Loyola University Chicago and University of New Mexico, USA. Our UK-based company ‘Redcliffe Bioscience Ltd’ is in agreement with these signees to take their patented new antiviral molecule (named as ‘Calxinin’) for the clinical trials and to develop it as an anti-Covid drug at the fastest speed.”
Redcliffe Bioscience further said, “Currently, as a company we aim to develop a new drug against Covid-19 with better efficacy and minimum toxicity. We also decided to form a dedicated new special purpose vehicle (SPV) entity Future Therapeutic Ltd in London for accounting our Covid-related research.”
“We understand that this anti-Covid molecule was developed at Laboratory for Translational Chemistry and Drug Discovery, Hansraj College (University of Delhi) by the group led by Dr Brijesh Rathi and would be very happy to collaborate with his group in future endeavors. We are committed to take this potential molecule developed at these above institutes to animal level efficacy and toxicity testing. Our company along with the institutes would be happy to jointly develop a drug against Covid,” the company added.
Asked when the drug against novel coronavirus disease is likely to hit the market, Rathi told the timesofindia.com that this would depend on the company, which has to start clinical trials.
Rathi said, “We have almost completed the pre-clinical studies of this molecule. We have tied up with Redcliffe Bioscience to find a drug and it has agreed to take this forward for clinical studies at the fastest speed. We have met half the challenge and expect the remaining half to be successfully dealt with by the company shortly.”
Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is continuously scaling up its facilities by giving approval to government and private laboratories to conduct tests for Covid-19.
So far, a total 681 laboratories across India have been given approval to conduct the test for Covid-19. These include 476 government laboratories and 205 private laboratories’ chains.
The ICMR said that a total of one lakh 28 thousand 868 samples of Coronavirus were tested in the last 24 hours. With this, the total number of tests reached 39,66,075 in the country.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is about to touch 2 lakh. The figure stands at 1,98,706 cases, with 95,527 having recovered and 5,598 people have died so far.