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Researchers at Fanshawe College develop artificial coronavirus to test the effectiveness of new treatments

The lab-created “replicon” is non-infectious but can be used to determine whether a drug treatment will work against COVID-19.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
October 22, 2020
Photo: Louis Reed/Unsplash

At the Centre for Research and Innovation at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Dr. Abdulla Mahboob and his team wanted to find a faster way to determine whether new drug treatments would be effective in combating the virus that causes COVID-19 infections. So they developed a fake virus, known as a replicon. Because it lacks the genetic material that would allow a real virus to become infectious, it’s safe to use outside of secure biosafety labs, and could be used by any pharmaceutical company that wants to test its drugs against the novel coronavirus.

Now the team at Fanshawe says they’re ready for their replicon to go large-scale, and are looking for a commercial partner to help them get the “Flexicon” into the hands of drug manufacturers. Dr. Mahboob says time is of the essence: “The faster we can effectively test the latest treatment options, the better our chances of potentially saving lives.”

Source: Fanshawe College

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