The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the global spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus has led to a staggering number of deaths worldwide and significantly increased burden on healthcare as nations have scrambled to find mitigation strategies. Viral infections such as SARS-CoV-2 can also predispose patients to bacterial co-infections. In fact, at least one in seven patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 have developed bacterial co-infections which have increased the severity and mortality of the disease. Since antiviral drugs have no effect on bacterial infections, these co-infections are treated with antibiotics. This surge in the use of antibiotic use during the COVID-19 pandemic has a detrimental effect in terms of driving the global growth of antibiotic resistance.
The goal of TRIAL is to design and test drug delivery vehicles tethered with antimicrobials to deliver the requisite therapeutic dose to tackle viral and bacterial infections in a controlled manner. The antimicrobials that are being developed in our laboratory have shown to have an effect on a wide range of respiratory viruses and bacterial pathogens. As we are using broad spectrum antimicrobials that are not antibiotics and we are therefore lowering the risk of developing antimicrobial resistance.
The technology being developed here is highly novel and will be revolutionary in the treatment of respiratory infections including that of COVID-19. We have brought together a group of world-class scientists, a clinician and an industrial partner with over 20 years’ experience in their respective fields who will work to achieve the ambitious goals of the proposed work. The long term goal is the acceleration of bench to clinic impact followed by the commercialisation of the technology.