A Compound from Sea Squirts Shows Promise as a COVID-19 Treatment, Outperforming Remdesivir in Preclinical Trials

A Compound from Sea Squirts Shows Promise as a COVID-19 Treatment, Outperforming Remdesivir in Preclinical Trials

As the rapid scientific fight against COVID-19 continues, a new compound from sea squirts, found exclusively in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain, has been identified by researchers as a promising step forward in combating the virus.


Perplexing and unusual as it seems, the sea quirt’s rare extract, known as plitidepsin, was discovered years ago by Spanish drugmaker PharmaMar and was marketed, under the name Aplidin, as a treatment for a rare type of cancer. The compound is promising as a COVID-19 antiviral drug as it inhibits human protein eEF1A and prevents viral replication thereby suppressing SARS-COV-2.  


What makes plitidepsin so intriguing in the fight against COVID-19? The answer is twofold. Firstly, according to new studies in human cells reported in Science, plitidepsin is almost 30 times more potent than remdesivir, the first antiviral drug licensed for the treatment COVID-19 patients.


Secondly, and perhaps even more provoking, the researchers took a novel approach to identifying proteins, which could prove critical in the fight against COVID-19, drug resistance, and mutations. 


Rather than taking the common path of identifying drugs that target viral proteins, Nevan Krogan, University of California, and Kris M. White and Adolfo García-Sastre, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, have instead investigated the role that host proteins play in the viral life cycle and identified compounds that demonstrate strong antiviral activity. 


By targeting human proteins like eEf1A rather than viral proteins, plitidepsin has the potential to address the common issues associated with drug efficacy against viral mutations given that host proteins do not mutate as quickly as viral proteins. Consequently, these efforts targeting the human protein with plitidepsin have the potential to retain efficacy in spite of viral mutations. 


There remain questions surrounding targeting a host protein and its problems related to toxicity, a critical concern for cancer patients being treated with plitidepsin. However, researchers note that the dosage required to kill SARS-CoV-2 is incomparable in terms of amount and length of treatment.   


With encouraging Phase 2 clinical trial results from the APLICOV-PC study, PharmaMar is currently discussing the initiation of phase 3 clinical trials of plitidepsin to treat COVID-19 with regulatory agencies. 


GreenLight Medical Announces COVID-19 Resources to Equip Healthcare Organizations to Solve Emergency Sourcing Crisis

GreenLight Medical Announces COVID-19 Resources to Equip Healthcare Organizations to Solve Emergency Sourcing Crisis

NASHVILLE, Tenn.April 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As hospitals continue to battle rising cases of COVID-19 across the United States, health systems are operating under supply chain shortages and difficult circumstances. GreenLight Medical, Inc., a leading healthcare supply chain technology company, is launching a COVID-19 Supply Chain Toolkit with urgent and timely resources.

The resources are designed to help health systems and healthcare providers access the data, collaboration platforms and product expertise they need to serve physicians, hospital personnel and patients in the midst of this pandemic. GreenLight will be providing complimentary access during these unprecedented times to its Virtual Value Analysis Platform, Product Research Library, Clinical Evidence Research, and supply chain best practices webinars and white papers.

COVID-19 Product Education & Sourcing Challenges

Due to extremely limited inventories of essential medical supplies including personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, GreenLight has prioritized the expansion of the PPE and COVID-19 product database to provide partners with rapid access to product information, FDA compliance, clinically equivalent alternatives, and safety and recall data. The GreenLight platform provides a direct connection to verified suppliers of COVID-19 products to streamline product access for healthcare systems and providers.

“Our hospital partners need support along multiple fronts, including technology, data and frameworks to develop resilience in the healthcare supply chain. As we innovate our software solutions to keep pace with hospital demands, we are also expanding our value analysis advisory services to ensure that facilities can implement a fully operational virtual value analysis program and governance structure within a few weeks’ time,” said Austin Dirks, CEO, GreenLight Medical.

“We have a responsibility to prioritize the development of features and resources that equip hospitals to directly manage COVID-19 supplies. Newly released tools from GreenLight will provide vetted and comprehensive product information, product sourcing, and processes that will ensure available inventory and adherence to hospital new product policy. Our commitment is to ensure high-quality medical products are reaching physicians and hospital personnel.”

GreenLight’s data, research and engineering teams have built a responsive and relevant repository of COVID-19 products and medical information to ensure all stakeholders have the data they need to drive actionable insights and source necessary supplies. Non-partnered hospitals and health systems will be able to leverage GreenLight’s medical device research to accelerate the identification and acquisition of medical devices, product equivalents, clinical evidence and FDA guidelines on COVID-19 products.

Resources Include Complimentary Access, a Virtual Value Analysis Supply Chain Platform and a Medical Product Research Library

Media Contact
Marius Stalby
Business Development
GreenLight Medical
Insights@GreenLightMedical.com | (629) 888-2920