COMBINATION THERAPIES FOR COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2)

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a novel RNA enveloped coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 when the virus enters human airway cells via an ACE2-mediated entry process. This entry pathway is facilitated by the cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG), which enhances viral attachment to the cell surface. Researchers at NIDDK and NCATS have discovered a collection of FDA-approved drugs that can interfere with the entry of SARS-CoV-2. These drugs can be grouped into three classes based on the distinct steps in the viral entry pathway that they target.

Potential New Drugs for Treating or Preventing Pruritus

NIH scientists have identified new compositions that could potentially be used to treat or prevent pruritus (itchiness). The newly discovered compounds can block a newly identified itch pathway and might be effective for persistent itch caused by psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, renal failure, liver cirrhosis and chemotherapy. These compounds are different from commonly used antihistamines which induce drowsiness and sedation. These compounds have the potential to be used for human and animals.

Substituted Quinoline Analogs as Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1) Inhibitors

Aldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes (ALDHs) have a broad spectrum of biological activities through the oxidation of both endogenous and exogenous aldehydes. Unbalanced biological activity of ALDHs has been associated with a variety of disease states such as alcoholic liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, obesity, and Cancer. Increased expression of ALDH1A1 has been identified in a wide-range of human cancer stem cells and is associated with cancer relapse and poor prognosis, raising the potential of ALDH1A1 as a therapeutic target.

Heterocyclic Compounds for the Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus

The vast majority of people infected with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) will have chronic infection. Over decades, this can lead to liver disease and liver cancer. In fact, HCV infection is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S. Several new drugs have recently come into the market that have changed the HCV treatment paradigm. However, the effectiveness of these new drugs can vary depending on the HCV genotype. Furthermore, all oral, interferon free therapeutic regimens for HCV infection will need combinations of drugs that target different aspects of the HCV life cycle.

Novel Dopamine D2 Receptor Antagonists and Methods of Their Use

Investigators at the NIH have identified a series of novel, small molecule antagonists of the dopamine D2 receptor. Among the dopamine receptor (DAR) subtypes, D2 DAR is arguably one of the most validated drug targets in neurology and psychiatry. For instance, all receptor-based anti-Parkinsonian drugs work via stimulating the D2 DAR, whereas all FDA approved antipsychotic agents are antagonists of this receptor. Unfortunately, most agents that act as antagonists of D2 DAR are problematic, either they are less efficacious than desired or cause multiple adverse effects.

Use of Antihistamine Compounds for the Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus

The vast majority of people infected with Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) will have chronic infection. Over decades, this can lead to liver disease and liver cancer. In fact, HCV infection is the leading cause of liver transplants in the U.S. Several new drugs have recently come into the market that will likely change the HCV treatment paradigm. However, the effectiveness of these new drugs can vary depending on the HCV genotype. Thus, there is still the need for additional new therapeutics against HCV.

Novel Small Molecule Antimalarials for Elimination of Malaria Transmission

The transmission of malaria begins with injection of sporozoites into a human from the bite of a female anopheles mosquito, which initiates the malarial life cycle in humans. When a mosquito bites an infected human, the ingested male and female malaria gametocytes fuse to form a zygote that eventually becomes an oocyst. Each oocyst produces thousands of sporozoites which migrate to the mosquito salivary glands, ready to infect a new human host.

Small-Molecule TSH Receptor Modulators for Diagnosis and Treatment of Thyroid Disease and Cancer

NIH investigators have discovered a series of low molecular weight thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor modulators for use in evaluation and treatment of thyroid diseases, including thyroid cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism. Certain compounds encompassed by this technology are more potent and/or more specific TSH receptor activators than currently-available compounds; also, as small molecules, these compounds are orally available and are expected to be less costly and more straightforward to produce than recombinant protein counterparts currently on the market.

Cotranslational Protein Expression System for High-throughput Screening

Reporter gene-based assays are used extensively in high-throughput screening (HTS) to identify chemical modulators of cellular pathways for drug discovery and development. However, such screening frequently results in a large number of false “hits” due to interactions of screened compounds with reporter proteins, producing confounding results. Thus, validation of results using these assays often involves significant time and expense.