Great hope for a cure

The Institut Pasteur de L’Isle is on a path of already proven treatment.

For a year now, the Institut Pasteur de L’Isle (IPL) has mobilized part of its “task force” in the search for curative weapons against SARS-CoV-2. After testing large numbers of molecules, Professor Benoit Deprez and Dr Jean Dubosson’s team finally identified one. It took the support of Lille startup Apteeus, its president and co-founder Terence Beghyn, chemist and chemist, to assemble a unique set of well-known active ingredients, from antibiotic therapies for children to aspirin in the search for treatments for croup.

The idea is to “sort them” into one of the institute’s automated screening machines. Of the 2,000 tests, “One molecule has an interesting profile. But don’t ask me its name, there is no way people will rush to get stocks!” Warns Benoit Deprez, scientific director of the Institut Pasteur de L’Isle. But this fall, An article published on the website of the AEF agency specializing in education and research sold the fuse. The drug is said to be clofoctol, an antibiotic intended for benign respiratory infections of bacterial origin. The suppository disappeared from the radars of the French Pharmacopoeia in 2005, but was still prescribed in Italy. Confirming the name of the product, Benoit Deprez closes the door of the chemical library very cautiously.It is stored in this room, in the basement of the campus in 25 freezers, 2 million samples and 200,000 molecules, including more than 2000 of all the drugs in the world. What if Among the forgotten treatments in the back of our medicine cabinets is the “miracle” molecule that can make Sars-CoV-2 as light as an old cold? “Science is research and evidence.” This angered Benoit Deprez who dislikes the term “miracle cure.”

This medication can reduce the viral load and thus prevent infection

Behind the scenes, some of the team’s lab assistants admit they’re living the most exciting science adventures of their careers. A dream about any researcher, they are about to look at it … The experiments conducted on genetically modified mice in the virology laboratory attest to this: the “secret” molecule suddenly prevents the reproduction of the SARS virus in them. 2. “Repositioning a treatment has a particular advantage when you know that creating and validating a new drug may take ten to fifteen years. We use molecules that have already been toxic. This greatly reduces the delay. Cells transplanted into plaques are infected with the virus,” says Benoit Deprez. And it comes into contact with a molecule in the laboratory and decomposes what happens. ”Thus the researchers discovered dozens of molecules capable of countering the virus in the laboratory, including this potentially rare pearl. When confronted with Sars-CoV-2, it appears to have an action on two of the entry points of the virus. This medicine can reduce the viral load of the disease carrier and thus prevent infection.

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LVMH decided to fund this clinical study

Benoit Deprez continues his explanations: “When we identified this possibility, there was some kind of excitement, of course, but it was never Eureka! “: It had to be tested, still in the laboratory, on reconstituted human respiratory devices, then on animal models. Every step is crucial. Problem: 5 million euros lost to a human clinical trial. Part of the funding could come from sponsorship or partnerships with The private sector.A call for donations launched. On Tuesday, February 2, the IPL team, which has been working on the Coronavirus family for more than seven years, received Antoine Arnault. The director of the LVMH Group was the first to hear his appeal In October; the French luxury giant decided to fund This clinical study. In the middle of the virology and pipette science lab, the forty, responsible for the image and environment of LVMH, born in Roubaix, recalls his association with the North Division and declares that he is upset about reading an article that has been relayed on Twitter. Follow scholars on the Internet. An article in “La Voix du Nord” caught my attention. There I learned that a lab in this area, where my family belongs, was on the path of a promising drug and needed funding for future clinical trials. I called my father. He invited me to investigate because, as we saw at the start of the crisis, there were very few effects of treatment announcements without any real methodology. I had to make sure this project was serious. It turns out that it was. In less than 48 hours, we agreed to support him. In a spirit of solidarity, we wanted to release the entire amount quickly. Our researchers must have lived a terrifying, exciting year. They are our army. This is also the reason we want to support them. “

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So far, if multiple laboratories review the current treatments, then no treatment will truly be approved. The studies are related and contradict each other. Colchicine, ivermectin, tocilizumab, to name a few, are the subject of treatment studies with mixed results, not to mention remdesivir, which the WHO ultimately does not recommend. 600 kilometers from the Pasteur Institute in Lille, Olivier Terrier, a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research at the International Center for Infectious Disease Research in Lyon, is working with his team on an important molecule. “We share Pasteur Lyell’s interest in not revealing too quickly the name of an existing drug. It is necessary to avoid possible prescriptions, outside of the regulatory realm, by general practitioners. This is somewhat similar to what initially happened with hydroxychloroquine.”

What works in the laboratory may not work in vivo

In Lyon, the sorting method differs. It involves artificial intelligence. Medication fingerprints are computerized for those the virus left them. Drugs whose signature is completely contrary to that of Sars-CoV-2 are selected. “Kind of meetic back! It’s a very predictive method, “comments Olivier Terrier. And this is how an antihypertensive drug was tested. It stimulates part of the immune system in the laboratory and slows the development of the virus. If all the results are strong, then the term” promising “is very selling in the eyes of Olivier Terrier: “Drug repositioning has become a modern concept, albeit a complex field. What works in the laboratory may not work in vivo. Because the most relevant model remains the man. “

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From the Institut Pasteur de L’Isle, everyone is waiting for the green light from the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products to start the final stage on their “secret” molecule. In light of the health emergency, can the clinical study not be speeded up? It could have done that, but a ministerial committee just refused the name “national priority.” Curb on IPL teams, who remain confident. The campus vaccination center is waiting for additional doses to continue the vaccination campaign among health workers and those over the age of 75. Xavier Nassif, director general of the institute, is “very optimistic about the effectiveness of vaccines.” But he confirms the obvious: “The first thing we teach our medical students is that we need a preventive component, a vaccine, a treatment component, a treatment. We never know the evolution of the virus. A very intelligent person who can predict our future,” before I warmly thank Antoine Arnaud On this unexpected gift.

Read also.Covid-19: LVMH will finance the clinical trial on the promising molecule

Hope was born. The future study, which includes 472 candidates, is scheduled to take four months. If it proves to be categorical, a page may be folded in the epidemic chapter at last.

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