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COVID-19: Austrian life sciences companies carry out intensive research

female researcher in lab © Medical University of Vienna

Active ingredient APN01 – Apeiron Biologics: The Vienna-based biotech company Apeiron Biologics has developed an active substance to treat COVID-19. Now it will be tested on a total of 200 seriously ill patients in Austria, Germany and Denmark. Actually, the drug with the new active substance APN01 was originally designed to treat acute lung damage or acute lung failure. Now APN01 is being tested on people who have been infected with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and have become severely ill due to the fact that these disorders can also arise with COVID-19 patients and potentially prove to be fatal.

Active ingredient Solnatide (AP301) – APEPTICO: The Viennese startup APEPTICO has been conducting research for years on the development of drugs made of peptides for application in acute, life-threatening syndromes triggering acute lung failure, namely the so-called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This life-threatening syndrome can also arise as a consequence of diseases, for example pneumonia caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (coronavirus). ARDS affects about 20 percent of coronavirus patients. Now APEPTICO aims to move ahead as quickly as possible with clinical research on the peptide called solnatide (AP301) which it discovered and further developed as the basis for subsequent drug development. Extensive data already exists on the safety and effectiveness of solnatide in patients suffering from acute lung failure (ARDS). Solnatide was approved on April 7th by the Austrian Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG) as part of the Compassionate Use Program for the treatment of infected patients with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting serious lung disease COVID-19.

New testing method – Sinsoma/University of Innsbruck: The University of Innsbruck is moving ahead with the development and evaluation of a novel high throughput technology for the genetic analysis of patient samples at its Faculty of Biology. Over the last few days several successful feasibility tests for a high throughput CE-PCR process for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been carried out at the Department of Zoology and Department of Microbiology at the University of Innsbruck in cooperation with Sinsoma GmbH, a spin-off company of the University of Innsbruck. This approach uses the coupling of highly sensitive endpoint PCR and capillary electrophoresis (CE), which is in contrast to conventional real-time PCR protocols, in order to detect genetic traces of the virus in samples. This is achieved by using specific, very short DNA sequences i.e. so-called primers, which dock to the RNA of the virus.

PhoenixDx COVID-19 rapid test: The Salzburg-based biotech company Procomcure has introduced the PhoenixDx COVID-19 real-time test to the marketplace. The rapid coronavirus test detects within 30 minutes whether or not someone is infected with the coronavirus. At present it is supplying the test to numerous hospitals and laboratories in Austria. Production is in full swing in order to satisfy global demand. Moreover, the company concluded a technology transfer deal, so that the new process can also be manufactured and applied abroad - with know-how from Austria.

eCOVID19 – Scarletred: The healthtech startup Scarletred has developed a coronavirus APP to relieve the burden on hotlines. In order to manage the huge demand by people affected by the coronavirus, digitals tools have become part of the solution for an increasing number of public authorities and governments. The young company has launched its own telemedicine App on the marketplace, called eCOVID19. In particular, it should one thing i.e. to provide advice to people showing symptoms of COVID-19 in the most uncomplicated manner, and then refer them to the competent authority.

Read on and find out more on Life Sciences in Austria!

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