Saarbrücken / Vienna (OTS) – In the fight against the global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, a large number of pharmaceutical manufacturers are looking for new ways and approaches to contain the pandemic. In addition to preventive vaccination of the population, research into active substances for the therapeutic treatment of sick people is the focus of scientists around the world. For this reason, many companies are currently re-evaluating their product portfolios with the known active substances they contain and testing procedures to identify antiviral properties.
With this aim, the companies URSAPHARM Arzneimittel GmbH, based in Saarbrücken, and the Vienna-based biotech company CEBINA GmbH (Central European Biotech Incubator and Accelerator) are cooperating to realign the antihistamine azelastine hydrochloride, which has been successfully used in antiallergic therapy for many years, with regard to its potential to fight the pathogen SARS-CoV-2.
Based on a new, computer-aided method for predicting new areas of application of already approved active ingredients, which was developed by Prof. Dr. Robert Konrat (University of Vienna), CEBINA chose such substances for experimental tests in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Ferenc Jakab (Head of the National Laboratory for Virology at the Szentágothai Research Center of the University of Pécs, Hungary). This collaboration led to the identification of azelastine as a potent antiviral compound against SARS-CoV-2, which has since been confirmed by several independent research groups. Even with low azelastine concentrations, a highly significant reduction in viral load could be demonstrated in a reconstituted human nasal tissue model . The resulting approach of reducing the viral colonization of the nasal mucosa by means of a nasal spray preparation containing azelastine in the early phase of an infection is now to be verified in a clinical study that began on February 16, 2021. The aim of the study is to investigate whether the product Pollival® nasal spray, which is approved as an antiallergic agent, and a dose-reduced variant of it, can reduce the viral load in the nasopharynx. By reducing the viral load, it is to be expected that the probability of transmission will also be reduced and the course of the disease will be favorably influenced.
URSAPHARM Arzneimittel GmbH and CEBINA GmbH hope that if the results of the upcoming studies are positive, they will be able to make an important contribution to containing the pandemic.
 Konrat, R., et al., The Anti-histamine Azelastine, Identified by Computational Drug Repurposing, Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Reconstituted Human Nasal Tissue In Vitro. bioRxiv, 2020: p. 2020.09.15.296228.
About URSAPHARM Arzneimittel GmbH:
Since it was founded in 1974, URSAPHARM has developed into a global group of companies. Numerous innovative products and patents secure the future of the company and offer more than 700 highly qualified employees at the headquarters in Saarbrücken and in the sales countries excellent working conditions and promising future prospects. With its own subsidiaries in France, BeNeLux, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Portugal, Russia and India as well as cooperation agreements with sales partners in over 74 countries, URSAPHARM has developed into a global player over the past decades that today is well over is active beyond home borders. In the field of ophthalmology, URSAPHARM has been one of the market leaders in Germany and many European countries for years. URSAPHARM is also active in other fields of indication and sells nasal sprays and eye drops containing azelastine in the allergy sector under the Pollival® brand.
About CEBINA GmbH:
CEBINA – Central European Biotech Incubator and Accelerator (www.cebina.eu) is a company based in Vienna that offers research, development, financing and management for small and medium-sized biotech companies and actively identifies academic projects with high product development potential with the aim to start new businesses. CEBINA is also active in the research and development of its own projects, especially in the field of infectious diseases. CEBINA has initiated several research projects to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inquiries & contact:
URSAPHARM Arzneimittel GmbH
T+ 49 6805 9292 – 116
F+ 49 6805 9292 – 222
Sophie Zettl, PhD
Vice President Business Development
+ 43 676 3731595
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