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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Bioelectronic Assay Identifies Potential COVID-19 Therapeutic Targets

COVID-19 is continuing to spread around the world, with roughly 300 million confirmed cases and more than five million deaths (1). Health officials cite numerous causes for this ongoing threat, including wavering vaccine supply and demand, the emergence of new variants, and a lack of effective therapeutics for the disease. Although mitigation efforts are ongoing, epidemiologists predict the likeliest long-term outcome is that the SARS-CoV-2 virus will become endemic in large regions around the world, constantly circulating among the human population (2). To help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on global health, any long-term management strategy must include the creation of safe and effective antiviral drugs.

Identifying a COVID-19 Treatment Strategy


Historically, scientists have found it difficult to develop antiviral drugs for several reasons. Firstly, viruses only contain the genetic material and proteins they need to travel through cell membranes and hijack a cell’s replication machinery. As a result, they do not possess many ideal drug targets. Also, because viruses rely so much on cells to operate, it is challenging to develop a drug that neutralises the virus without interfering with normal physiological processes.

Furthermore, viruses mutate frequently, making it hard to identify a stable target that will be useful over a long period of time. In fact, although SARS-CoV-2 was only discovered two years ago, scientists have already identified highly contagious variants that may result in more severe and/or transmissible disease and threaten the efficacy of today’s vaccines. Consequently, ideal antiviral drugs must target a portion of the virus or a related process that does not change.

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Jim Ross, PhD, is the CTO and co-founder of Axion BioSystems as well as the co-founder and scientific advisor of BioCircuit. Dr Ross has over twenty years’ experience in bioelectronic technology development, devoting much of his efforts to commercialising cost-effective cellular interfaces and softwarereconfigurable analysis tools. Dr Ross received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Louisiana State University, US, in 2000 and his PhD in Neuroengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, US, in 2008.

Dr Chris Basler receives compensation as a paid consultant for Axion BioSystems.
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Jim Ross
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Chris Basler
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