Antiviral compounds against COVID-19 tested in secure labs at CSU

Colorado State University researchers are testing hundreds of existing drugs, compounds and chemicals to see if they might provide options to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Some of these substances are approved by regulatory agencies to treat conditions including malaria, HIV and hepatitis C and may be repurposed and used in clinical trials to treat people who have contracted COVID-19.

Rushika Perera, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, said that many companies are limited in their ability to test the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, because they lack the appropriate biosafety level facility. So, they’ve turned to CSU for help.

“A lot of industries are limited with how they can work with the virus,” said Perera, who studies mosquito-borne viruses like dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. “They need to partner with CSU to do this research. We have the expertise, labs and physical space.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that scientists using the virus in research conduct these experiments in a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. CSU has been designated as a regional biocontainment laboratory, one of a dozen at universities across the country, to support biodefense and emerging infectious diseases research.

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