The fight against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) continues into 2021. While effective prophylaxis is now possible with vaccines, breakthrough innovations in treatment of Covid-19 patients are still awaited.

Among the promising approaches being pursued is one by Aphaia Pharma in cooperation with the University of Toronto. The research focuses on a hormone that regulates blood glucose levels in humans: glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). One of its many functions is that GLP-1 activates processes that strengthen the barrier function of cells, possibly impeding the penetration of SARS-CoV-2. The development of GLP-1-based agents could be a viable therapeutic approach to slow the progression of COVID-19 and improve clinical outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection, in people with and without pre-existing conditions.

Interestingly, Aphaia Pharma’s therapeutic target group, i.e. people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and obesity, who have a reduced GLP-1 release, are among the most critical Covid-19 risk groups. Aphaia Pharma specialises in treatments for the metabolic syndrome, and an endocrine-acting COVID-19 drug would be a valuable addition to its therapeutic offerings.