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!