Fraunhofer ITEM receives BMBF Funding for COVID-19 Drug Research

The Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM), member of the DZL at BREATH, is involved in two projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for the development of new compounds against COVID-19. In total, the BMBF is supporting eight projects with 46 million euros in the funding program for "Research and development of urgently needed therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2". The aim is to strengthen the clinical development of promising therapeutic approaches against COVID-19.

Antibodies for patients with high viral loads
In the CORAT-1 project, ITEM scientists and their partners investigate the efficacy of a neutralizing antibody (COR-101) developed for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 disease. The drug is designed to help treat patients with high viral loads without risking an exaggerated inflammatory response or exacerbating infection. Researchers at the ITEM are confecting the antibody as well as the study drug für the clinical trial.

The research project aims to develop the neutralizing antibody further to enable, among other things, intravenous and thus more effective and faster treatment.

Protecting lung tissue
The second project with ITEM participation involves the protein angiotensin-(1-7), which has a protective effect on lung tissue. If SARS-CoV-2 enters the cells, less angiotensin-(1-7) is produced. This could be a cause for the severe lung changes in COVID-19 patients. The researchers at the ITEM are responsible for the inhalation-toxicologic examinations unter GCP (Good Laboratory Practice). 

The project aims to investigate externally delivered angiotensin-(1-7) as a therapeutic option and verify whether the protein’s timely inhalation can prevent severe lung changes.

Original publication: 

Text: MHH