"We have already initiated a program for developing a treatment for the 2019-nCOV," said Anil R. Diwan, PhD, President and Executive Chairman of the Company, adding, "Our platform technology enables possibly the most rapid pathway for new drug development against viral diseases. Of course, we will need support from governmental and international agencies such as the US CDC , WHO, and Chinese CDC to successfully develop these treatments, and, if developed, to get them to the patients in the fastest possible time. At this time, the Company does not have a collaboration with any of these agencies, and we have not been contacted by any of these entities or asked to develop a treatment for this virus. We had collaborations with the CDC and USAMRIID in the past. The Company intends to pursue a relevant collaboration for testing of our drug candidates soon."
The new 2019-nCoV is known to be closely related to the SARS-CoV of 2002-2003 epidemic. In fact it has been shown to use the same cell surface receptor as SARS-CoV, namely ACE2.
"We have already found some lead candidate ligands in our chemical library that can bind to the SARS-CoV spike protein in the same fashion as it binds to the cognate receptor, ACE2, using molecular modeling tools," explained Dr . Diwan, adding, "We believe this means we may already be significantly ahead in developing a potential treatment for the new Wuhan virus."