Startup incubated in UPTEC helps respond to Covid-19

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Bioprospectum, a company incubated in UPTEC, the Science and Technology Park in Porto and a spin-off of the Health Research and Innovation Institute in Porto (i3S), has identified two substances with a capacity for antiviral activity that can neutralize structural parts of the SARS-CoV2, by means of computational Chemistry.  

The first "anti-covid" molecules will be tested in vitro - cell culture - during the month of August and consist of two peptides found in the Perez's frog, aka green Iberian frog, native to the Azores, Portugal.

The test phase will be carried out jointly with iMED - Institute for Drug Research of the faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Lisbon.

"The identification of molecules with a pharmacological activity can take years to develop if it is done by using the classical methods, but bio-prospecting and artificial intelligence have shown that we are able to see the first results in months", explains José Leite, co promotor of the project.

Bioprospectum has developed an in silico platform in partnership with the Artificial Intelligence Brazilian company MI4U, which enables the selecting of a more appropriate substance for a particular purpose, as defined by the researcher, and this makes it possible to skip the phases of a more detailed sampling.

At present, the company's platform is identifying molecules that are able to be used in the fight against covid-19, in the framework of the projects boosted by the University of Porto.