Targeted drug combination for cells infected by viruses


The current corona pandemic shows the importance of antiviral drugs. A project funded by the LOEWE Exploration now explores a concept to develop antiviral agents with lower side effects. ‘A critical aspect in drug discovery is the relationship between the desired effect and possible side effects, explains Professor Felix Hausch from the TU Darmstadt. Together with his colleague professor Eberhard Hildt from the Paul Ehrlich Institute, he explores, whether the combination of two prominent types of antiviral drugs can be used to derive so-called prodrugs that preferentially act in virally infected cells. This could reduce undesirable effects in unaffected cells of patients. This concept of so-called protease-activatable antiviral prodrugs will be demonstrated using hepatitis C viruses (HCV) and corona viruses (SARS-CoV2) as well-understood model systems.

On the way towards a drug: The team led by Professor Felix Hausch uses chemical knowhow to develop novel antiviral agents