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Project description

New intranasal drugs against SARS-CoV-2

The extent of the current COVID-19 pandemic demands concerted efforts towards effective diagnostics, therapies and vaccines. In this direction, the EU-funded Fight-nCoV project will accelerate the preclinical development of new broad-spectrum antivirals administered via inhalation. The work builds on ongoing research on drugs that block viral entry and will test their safety and activity against SARS-CoV-2 in a macaque model of the disease. The efficacy information on these intranasal inhibitors in non-human primates will lay the foundation for the next step in the development pipeline of these drugs for human use.


Project coordinator: Professor Anna-Lena Spetz, MD, PhD, Stockholm University, Sweden

Objectives of proposal: Our consortium “Fight-nCoV” will accelerate preclinical development of new broad-spectrum antivirals for inhalation, building on breath-taking ongoing research. We will determine and characterize the antiviral activity and safety of three viral entry inhibitors (oligonucleotide, Macro-I, tweezer) against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and in vivo. To enable this, we will build capacity for evaluation of antiviral efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro using viral pseudotypes and wild-type SARS-CoV-2 as well as in vivo in non-human primates. Safety studies will be performed according to OECD GLP guidelines.

Expected results: We will establish a SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotype system allowing a standardized high throughput evaluation of the antiviral activity of candidate drugs. We will have determined the antiviral efficacy of three novel broad-spectrum viral entry inhibitors: oligonucleotide, macromolecular polymers, and molecular tweezers. We will also build capacity for innovation and preclinical evaluation of our broad-spectrum antivirals and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 by establishing a macaque challenge model. “Fight-nCoV” will provide efficacy data of our drug candidates given intranasally in non-human primates challenged with SARS-CoV-2, enable an early and valuable outcome for stakeholders and the civil society.

Timeline of proposal: Ongoing-30 months

Key partners: Roger Le Grand, Director animal facility, CEA, France; Urban Höglund, CEO Adlego Biomedical, Sweden; Jan Münch, Professor in Molecular Virology, UULM, Germany; Alexander Zelikin, Associate Professor, formulation expert, AU, Denmark; and Thomas Schrader, Professor of Chemistry, UDE, Germany.



Net EU contribution
€ 604 690,00
Universitetsvagen 10
10691 Stockholm

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Östra Sverige Stockholm Stockholms län
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (5)