Hunger games: starving the virus.
G.ST Antivirals is a MedUni Vienna spin-off and one of the first nine start-ups to take advantage of the "sharing principle" offered by Startup Labs Vienna. As CEO Guido Gualdoni explains in the following interview, the company is developing antiviral substances at its Vienna Bio Center site that could also be used to combat coronaviruses.
You are currently working on a therapy to treat Covid-19. What exactly does this involve? Can you explain how it works?
G.ST Antivirals is working on an antiviral nasal spray that is primarily being developed for use against the common cold, but could also be used to combat Covid-19. In this case, it is highly conceivable that the spray could be used as a prophylactic option, i.e. to suppress the entry of viruses via the nasal passages and thus prevent the infection from taking hold in the first place.
What is so special about it?
The G.ST Antivirals therapeutic strategy is based on cutting the viruses off from the host cell’s sugar supply. As viruses have no metabolism of their own and are wholly dependent on the host cell, this effectively “starves” them inside the cell and prevents them from reproducing.
Are there any results to report yet? What will your next steps be?
The first treatment option developed by G.ST Antivirals using 2-deoxyglucose is currently in the final stages of preclinical testing and will be tested on humans for the first time in the course of the next year. The initial studies will focus primarily on the substance’s safety.
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Dr. Guido Gualdoni, PhD
Startup Labs Vienna Bio Center
Dr.-Bohr-Gasse 7, 1030 Wien