rNAPc2 is the name of the protein that could prevent thrombosis, or blood clots, in COVID-19 patients. Moreover, in addition to its anticoagulant effect, it could also have an anti-inflammatory and antiviral effect. Previous studies, including research on the Ebola virus, point to this. The dual mechanism of action is of interest to the researchers because they attribute frequent thrombosis in affected individuals to an inflammatory response caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection.
With their discovery, the scientists at the University Medical Center Mainz, led by Professor Wolfram Ruf, who is also Principal Investigator of the DZHK, hope to improve the prognosis for COVID-19 patients.
Unlike the anticoagulant heparin, which has so far been used in COVID-19 patients and intervenes in the late phase of blood clotting, rNAPc2 is already effective in the early phase: the active ingredient inhibits a protein that is responsible for activating blood clotting. This protein also plays a central role in inflammation triggered by viral infections.
Patent transfer paves the way to market
To ensure that the active ingredient can be used in COVID-19 patients as soon as possible, Mainz University Medical Center is cooperating with the U.S. biotech company ARCA biopharma. The company is the owner of the active ingredient and, with cooperation, receives worldwide patent rights for using the active ingredient as a potential therapy in COVID-19. It will now drive forward the development of an approved drug that can be used in COVID-19 patients.
The compound has already been studied in an international, multicenter Phase 2b clinical trial by ARCA biopharma in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with elevated blood clotting levels since December 2020. The scientists want to determine whether treatment with rNAPc2 prevents thrombosis better than standard therapy with the anticoagulant heparin.
If rNAPc2 proves successful in the clinical trials of COVID-19, this could enable its use in other thrombo-inflammatory diseases.
Source: University Medicine Mainz