Precision therapeutic targets for COVID-19

a group of people smiling
(Top row, left to right) Connor Francis, Zachary Krumm and Grace Lloyd.  (Bottom row, left to right) Lith Nasif and Yuxing Xia.

By Todd Taylor

A new review led by a team of UF College of Medicine graduate students evaluates the efficacy of preclinical and clinical drugs that precisely target the COVID-19 replication cycle and suggests that a multi-drug cocktail aimed at specific proteins could be the most effective strategy to limit the disease’s spread and treat patients who are already infected.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 30 million Americans have been infected with the disease and over a half million have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The review, published in Virology Journal, hypothesizes that the development of a multi-drug cocktail targeting precise proteins, critical to the viral replication cycle, will help to inhibit COVID-19 replication and reduce its spread as well as help to combat future coronaviruses.

“While concentrated efforts have been placed on researching viral mechanisms, there are precious little tools, aside from vaccination, to defend ourselves from the unceasing onslaught of viral attacks,” the authors write.

The review was led by first authors Zachary Krumm, Grace Lloyd, Connor Francis and Lith Nasif and senior author Yuxing Xia. Krumm, Lloyd, Nasif and Xia are graduate students in the Department of Neuroscience and Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences and Francis is a graduate student in the Department of Neurosurgery. Krumm, Francis, Nasif and Xia are all UF College of Medicine M.D.-Ph.D. Training Program students.

“We are extremely proud of these trainees for thinking outside the box, venturing outside of their primary research areas and coming together to advance our understanding of COVID-19 with this important paper,” said Jennifer Bizon, Ph.D., chair of the UF’s department of neuroscience.

Read the paper in Virology Journal.