With the current pandemic, researchers and doctors around the globe are working hard to try and uncover a possible solution. This includes researchers from the University of British Columbia who are making discoveries that reportedly hold promise in fighting COVID-19. UBC’s COVID-19 drug ”holds promise” and is now ready for clinical testing. 

A study led by UBC researcher Dr. Josef Penniger is responsible for new information that could be useful in fighting the coronavirus. 

The international team has found a drug that “effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2” used to infect its hosts, according to a release published by the team.  

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. 

The findings published online state the drug holds promise as a treatment capable of stopping the pandemic's spread. 

“There is hope for this horrible outbreak,” said Dr. Penninger in an online statement posted by the university. 

While doctors are learning more about the disease each day, this study is able to provide insights into key aspects of the novel coronavirus and its interactions on a cellular level as well as how the virus can infect kidneys and blood vessels. 

“We are hopeful our results have implications for the development of a novel drug for the treatment of this unprecedented outbreak,” says Dr. Penninger. 

This work was not done by UBC alone. Others in Toronto, Sweden, and Spain have been working alongside the B.C. team.  

The study, posted on April 2, focuses on a protein found on the surface of human cells. The theory is that it's a key receptor for the spikes of glycoprotein that are found in the virus. 

The research team found evidence that a protein called APN01 may be useful as an “antiviral therapy.”

APN01 will soon be tested in clinical trials by a European biotech company, Apeiron Biologics. It will then be determined if it is useful for COVID-19. 

In studies, the researchers replicated human blood vessels and kidneys and determined the virus can directly infect and duplicate itself in these tissues. 

This discovery provides insights about how severe cases of coronavirus present "multi-organ failure and evidence of cardiovascular damage."

UBC isn’t the only university working on finding a solution to the pandemic. Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have been working hard on providing a vaccine. In March, this vaccine was in the testing stages

To help keep everyone in the province safe, B.C. nurses have set up a hotline so you can get up-to-date information on COVID-19.

There is even a self-evaluation website to help monitor your symptoms and determine what care you need.

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