Much attention has been placed on vaccine development aimed at boosting human immunity to the virus. However, vaccines are not 100% effective and equitable access to them across the globe is problematic. Therefore, a more comprehensive strategy of fighting COVID-19 would also involve the development of antiviral drugs to treat infected individuals. Unfortunately, traditional drug development often involves a slow and expensive process that is ill-suited to the public health demands of this global pandemic.
Baylor researchers turned to an innovative, faster, and more cost-effective drug discovery technology to screen billions of compounds for a potential treatment against viruses. In doing so, they were able to identify an inhibitor of a viral protein that is needed for propagation of viruses, specifically COVID-19. That viral protein is called Mpro.