Currently there are no therapies or vaccines for patients infected with 2019-nCoV coronavirus around the world. As the number of 2019-nCoV patients approaches 10,000 and more than 200 deaths, with both numbers rapidly climbing, without the prospect of a vaccine for at least a year, the situation is becoming dire.
AntiCancer’s oral recombinant methioninase targets and destroys circulating methionine in the body. Methionine is a common amino acid derived from protein-containing food. Oral methioninase has been shown to have great promise for treating cancer, obesity and diabetes by restricting methionine in the body. It is known that virally-infected cells are killed by methionine restriction. Importantly, coronaviruses have a specific requirement for methionine in order to replicate and to evade the immune system of the host.
“Oral recombinant methioninase has high potential to slow or arrest infection of 2019-nCoV in patients, with and without symptoms,” said Dr. Qinghong Han, methioninase project leader at AntiCancer. “We will first test methioninase in cultured lung cells infected with 2019-nCoV in vitro, and then test oral recombinant methioninase in patients infected with the virus. We will carry out these tests in China with the appropriate organizations and safety profiles. Oral recombinant methioninase should be effective therapy for 2019-nCoV disease since coronaviruses have a special requirement for methionine,” said Dr. Han.
AntiCancer will collaborate with its sister company in Beijing, AntiCancer Beijing, to develop oral recombinant methioninase for 2019-nCoV in China. AntiCancer Inc. is based in San Diego and has subsidiaries in Tokyo, Seoul and Nanjing in addition to Beijing. Follow AntiCancer on anticancer.com.