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National Commentary

Black-Owned Laboratory Uses Artificial Intelligence-Based Drug Discovery Platform to Develop Treatment for COVID-19

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

The novel coronavirus has ravaged most of the globe, but in the U.S., African Americans and other communities of color have disproportionately born the lethal impact of the pandemic.

Darnisha Harrison, a Louisiana State University grad and founder and CEO of Georgia-based Ennaid Therapeutics, says that scientists working for her company are developing a drug-based therapy whose laboratory tests continue to show promise. If successful, her scientists’ solution could be instrumental in blocking the continued spread of COVID-19.

Ennaid Therapeutics uses artificial intelligence (AI)-based drug discovery platforms to develop antiviral drugs.

The drug that shows so much promise has been labeled ENU200, a repurposed, patent-pending, and orally deliverable antiviral drug that was previously approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a different indication. The development of ENU200, as a therapeutic, is targeted to treat the up to 80% of asymptomatic, mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 viral infections.

“Our science strongly suggests that ENU200, a repurposed drug with a well-established clinical and safety profile, has the potential to be a broad solution to address the COVID-19 pandemic and, specifically, the near 80 percent of coronavirus cases that are asymptomatic, mild to moderate,” said Harrison. “Key to ENU200 is its target of two proteins on the SARS-CoV-2 virus that interfere with the virus’ ability to enter healthy cells and its replication. Additionally, unlike other COVID-19 drugs in development, which must be administered via injection or intravenously under the care of a physician, ENU200 can be administered orally, thus enabling in-home treatment for COVID-19 infections.”

“The FDA has been very supportive at fast-tracking review every step of the way, and that is true around the world,” Harrison told WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge.

“We anticipate the clinical trials could start within 90 days. The clinical trial itself could take a month. We feel quite optimistic that in the 120-day window, when our clinical material would be ready, we could have a drug that could be safe and effective at treating COVID-19.”

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