Nanomerics Molecular Mask MM019 inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in ex-vivo human airway epithelial air liquid interface cultures.
Today Nanomerics announced the results of collaborative work carried out with Professor Krzysztof Pyrc’s team, from the Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology (MCB), Jagiellonian University, showing that its anti-viral polymer technology - MM019 - not only inhibits the replication of the new coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 – in immortalised cells such as A549ACE2+ and Vero E6, but also hampers replication of the new coronavirus ex vivo in fully differentiated human airway epithelial air liquid interface cultures (Pyrc et al, 2020, BioRxiv, https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.10.413609). The polymer has a long residence time in mouse nares, with 13% of the dose resident in the nares after 24 hours. The polymer in MM019 has been through a Good Laboratory Practice toxicology screen with a no observed adverse effect level identified and the polymer is also being developed as a pharmaceutical excipient. The viral inhibition studies have opened up new applications for Nanomerics’ proprietary polymer.
There are currently no cures for a wide variety of viral infections, including the ones caused by emerging flaviviruses and coronaviruses, which regularly cause local outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics. Based on its proposed mechanism of action, it is possible that MM019 may be applied to a wide variety of viral infections. If clinical trials are successful, MM019 could be used as a molecular mask nasal spray for the prevention of coronaviral infections; such as with species associated with the common cold. MM019 could also be used to prevent infections caused by highly pathogenic coronaviruses.
Even though new coronavirus vaccines have been approved and have been shown to be able to prevent systemic disease, there is no evidence that the leading vaccines will prevent transmission of the disease via viral particles present in the nasal epithelium. This uncertainty makes MM019 a useful addition to the interventions currently being trialled to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission. “The safety data, long nasal residence time and ex-vivo viral inhibition data all support the hypothesis that MM019 could be effective in preventing disease transmission, with clinical trials now being required to prove our hypothesis,” says Ijeoma F. Uchegbu, Chief Scientific Officer of Nanomerics Ltd. “Our laboratory has been working on viruses for several years and we are pleased to have been able to contribute to this new invention,” says Professor Krzysztof Pyrc.