SAN DIEGO, CA (October 12, 2004) – ChemBridge Corp. and the University of Hong Kong recently announced a potentially significant breakthrough in the early stages of research in the fight against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the coronavirus infection that affected more than 8,000 people, killing some 800, mainly in Hong Kong and China, during the period April-June 2003.
Richard Kao, research assistant professor from the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Microbiology, and his team used chemical genetics methods to screen aChemBridge library of more than 50,000 compounds in an attempt to identify smallmolecules that stop the spread of the coronavirus, ChemBridge said.
Dr. Kao’s team reportedly found a number of compounds that effectively inhibited the spread of the disease. The group is now working on identifying the mechanisms by which these compounds work in an effort to bring a SARS cure to the marketplace.
“The pioneering works of Schreiber (Harvard University) and Stockwell (MIT) have laid down the foundation of chemical genetics,” Kao said. “We just followed their foot steps and extended this new research paradigm to emerging infectious diseases — an increasingly alarming problem regionally and globally.”
The work has been published – Richard Y. Kao, Wayne H.W. Tsui, Terri S.W. Lee, Julian A. Tanner, Rory M. Watt, Jian-Dong Huang, Lihong Hu, Guanhua Chen, Zhiwei Chen, Linqi Zhang, Tian He, Kwok-Hung Chan, Herman Tse, Amanda P.C. To, Louisa W.Y. Ng, Bonnie C.W. Wong, Hoi-Wah Tsoi, Dan Yang, David D. Ho, and Kwok-Yung Yuen: “Identification of Novel Small-Molecule Inhibitors of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Associated Coronavirus by Chemical Genetics.” Chemistry & Biology, Volume 11, Number 9, September 2004, pp. 1293-1299.
ChemBridge Corp. is a provider of chemistry tools and contract research services for small molecule drug discovery. Founded in 1993, it is a privately held company with about 350 employees.