CytoDyn Inc (OTCMKTS:CYDY) told investors it was looking for potential partners to study its lead drug leronlimab for treating the spreading killer coronavirus, which broke out in China and has now claimed 106 lives. 

Coronavirus is the name for a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate in animals. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of the respiratory illness first detected in the city of Wuhan in China. 

Potential global emergency

The virus is rapidly becoming a potential global emergency and the number of cases of those infected has now surged to 4,515 yesterday from 2,835 the previous day.

Leronlimab is an antibody targeting the CCR5 receptor. It has the potential for multiple therapeutic uses. 

The candidate has shown no drug-related serious adverse events in nine clinical trials with more than 800 patients, and has been previously used in combination with protease inhibitors in HIV therapy, which could be potentially used to treat the specific strain of the 2019-nCoV.

“Leronlimab has both the potential to enhance the cellular immune response by suppressing Treg cells that, in turn, inhibit the anti-viral T-cell responses and the potential to repolarize macrophage activity,” said Dr Bruce Patterson, CEO and founder of IncellDx, CytoDyn’s diagnostic partner and an advisor to CytoDyn.

Contributing factor

“Lung (alveolar) macrophages in coronavirus infections have been implicated as a contributing factor to significant morbidity and mortality of the infectious disease. Leronlimab could potentially synergize with other retroviral therapies that [are] currently being used for the potential treatment of 2019-nCoV.”

CytoDyn CEO Nader Pourhassan added: “We support efforts to identify new and potential treatments to limit the spread of the 2019-nCoV, which is affecting people on a global scale at an accelerating rate. We look forward to advancing discussions with potential partners to study leronlimab as a treatment option for this deadly virus.”

CytoDyn shares in New York advanced 6.55% to US$1.22 on Tuesday and yesterday gained 5.53%.

—Updates for share price—

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