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30 Mar 2020

Institut Pasteur Korea confirmed antiviral efficacy of a medicine for asthma against SARS-CoV-2

Korea is one of the countries the most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a massive surge of cases within few weeks. Since February 2020, Institut Pasteur Korea has been conducting a study, so-called “Drug Repositioning”, by screening the in-house chemical library consisting of drugs that have already been licensed or currently in clinical development to find the drugs that can be used for the treatment of COVID-19 without going through lengthy clinical trials.

Institut Pasteur Korea already demonstrated its leading role in screening and therapeutic innovation, key features of the Pasteurian model of research, placing them at the forefront to tackle this pandemic. 

 

Institut Pasteur Korea confirmed antiviral efficacy of “Alvesco”, a medicine for asthma, against SARS-CoV-2

The antiviral efficacy of Alvesco was identified comparable or superior to those of remdesivir, lopinavir, and chloroquine for which clinical studies are underway.

Institut Pasteur Korea reported that ciclesonide, a component of “Alvesco”(a drug for asthma), showed excellent efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 in “Drug Repositioning” research.

In the research, approximately 3,000 drugs, including 1,500 US FDA approved drugs, were tested in in-vitro cell culture with an aim of identifying the drugs that are effective for COVID-19 treatment. The study was conducted as part of National Life and Safety Emergency Response Research funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT).

Since February, the Institute has been conducting a study, so-called “Drug Repositioning”, by screening the in-house chemical library consisting of drugs that have already been licensed or currently in clinical development to find the drugs that can be used for the treatment of COVID-19 without going through lengthy clinical trials.

First, the Institute conducted preliminary experiments using SARS-CoV, which is similar to the SARS-CoV-2. After receiving SARS-CoV-2 virus(NCCP No. 43326) from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), researchers searched for the drugs with antiviral activity against the SARS-CoV-2. As a result, about 20 drugs including ciclesonide were discovered to exhibit antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2.

According to the research results, the identified compounds have shown similar or superior antiviral activity in cell culture experiments compared to the remdesivir, lopinavir, and chloroquine, which are currently in clinical trials at home and abroad.

In particular, ciclesonide was nominated as the most feasible drug after a comprehensive review of safety, drug efficacy, related overseas cases, and domestic availability.

The results of the study were posted* on 'bioRxiv', a preprint server, on March 21.
 * Identification of antiviral drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 from FDA-approved drugs 

>>> Read the study online 

Dr. Wang-Shick Ryu, CEO of Institut Pasteur Korea, said, “The antiviral activity of the drugs was confirmed only in the in-vitro cell culture experiments, and hopefully they could be useful for the treatment of patients after the efficacy of the drugs are also confirmed in clinical tests.” "We will continue the 'Drug Repositioning' campaign to discover additional drugs which can be more effective for COVID-19 treatment," he added.

 

Learn more about Institut Pasteur Korea's work on SARS-COV-2 with the following publication: 

>>> Screening of FDA-approved drugs using a MERS-CoV clinical isolate from South Korea identifies potential therapeutic options for COVID-19

 

27 Mar 2020

COVID-19: French President Macron Visits Institut Pasteur

While the COVID-19 numbers keep growing fast, with more than 500,000 cases and 23,000 deaths, the French President Emmanuel Macron, along with French Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, visited Institut Pasteur in Paris to meet with Stewart Cole and the scientists who are advancing research to tackle the pandemic.

The President had the opportunity to meet some of the teams who have been hard at work since the very start of the outbreak and to find out more about both the emergency research being carried out on the topic and the health challenges facing the French people and the world population. He met with Félix Rey, head of the Virology Department, who explained the life cycle of the virus SARS-CoV-2 and where it could be targeted by drugs.

President Macron took the opportunity of his visit to the Institut Pasteur to announce his decision to increase France's research budget by €5 billion over the next decade. He also reiterated his message to the public about how vital it is for everyone to comply with the government's advice to "Stay at home" to control the outbreak.

The presidential visit, which gave the Institut Pasteur and its scientists a chance to present their ongoing and future work in response to COVID-19, is a strong demonstration of support all the Institut Pasteur's staff and for research in general. 

23 Mar 2020

The Pasteur Foundation Asia launches its Newsletter

The Pasteur Foundation Asia, charitable organization established in Hong Kong that supports crucial scientific research, teaching and public health initiatives, launched its first newsletter:

>>> Read the Newsletter online

>>> Subscribe to the Newsletter

It is very important for us to show you that your donations can make a difference, especially during the current COVID-19 outbreak affecting all our lives. This is why the Pasteur Foundation Asia has decided to launch its Newsletter.

Together, with the entire Institut Pasteur International Network, we are committed to fight emerging diseases, to support crucial scientific research, teaching and public health initiatives. Your help in this battle will always be welcomed, the Pasteur Foundation Asia is grateful for any donations, big or small.

>>> DONATE TO THE FOUNDATION <<<

The Pasteur Foundation Asia supports crucial scientific research, teaching and public health initiatives for the prevention and treatment of diseases, the promotion of awareness of the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases and the improvement of global health conditions. Donations we raise from our community enable us to allocate funds to the HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, which works closely with the Institut Pasteur and its International Network for the aforementioned objectives, or to specific projects chosen by the donors themselves.

 

11 Mar 2020

Professor Leo Poon Gave An Interview To Pasteur Foundation Asia About His Work On SARS-CoV-2

Professor Leo Poon, School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong, gave an interview to the Pasteur Foundation Asia (PFA) about his work on SARS-CoV-2.

Leo Poon is one of the scientists working tirelessly on the virus. He uses is expertise from SARS and MERS outbreaks to get a better understanding of this novel coronavirus and recently published with Malik Peiris, Co-Director at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, in Nature about it. He kindly agreed on answering a few questions to the Pasteur Foundation Asia about his work. 

 

>>> Interview on PFA website