© Hector Fellow Academy
22. September 2021
Paper by Patrick Cramer published

Patrick Cramer's team publishes study on drug Molnupiravir

The study, published in the journal Nature Struc­tural & Molec­u­lar Biology, shows how the drug, which will be used against Sars-CoV‑2, works at the molec­u­lar level.

Molnupi­ravir is an orally avail­able drug, which becomes activated through metab­o­liza­tion in the body. When it enters the cell, it is converted into RNA-like build­ing blocks. In the first phase, the viral copying machine, called RNA polymerase, incor­po­rates these build­ing blocks into the RNA genome of the virus. In the second phase, the RNA-like build­ing blocks connect with the build­ing blocks of the viral genetic mater­ial. “When the viral RNA then gets repli­cated to produce new viruses, it contains numer­ous errors, so-called mutations. As a result, the pathogen can no longer repro­duce,” says Florian Kabinger, a doctoral student in Cramer's depart­ment and first author.

Molnupi­ravir also appears to trigger mutations in other RNA viruses, prevent­ing them from spread­ing further. “The compound could poten­tially be used to treat a whole spectrum of viral diseases,” says Claudia Höbart­ner, profes­sor of chemistry at the Univer­sity of Würzburg and co-author of the study. “Molnupi­ravir has a lot of potential.”

Currently, the promis­ing drug candi­date is in phase III studies, where it is being tested on a large number of patients. Whether Molnupi­ravir is safe to be approved as a drug will proba­bly be announced in the second half of the year.

Congrat­u­la­tions to Patrick Cramer!