Upon infection, coronaviruses hijack the host cell endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to quickly produce a larger quantity of misfolding-prone viral glycoproteins. The accumulation of misfolded and unfolded proteins in the ER causes ER stress and induces the UPR. In in vitro studies of PTI-129 demonstrated the potential to reduce viral protein production in host cells by activating the adaptive branches of the UPR pathway and reducing the levels of misfolded proteins.
"The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that demands the investigation of all possible avenues of resolution," said Meenu Chhabra, President and CEO of Proteostasis. "We are exploring ways to further our understanding of PTI-129's potential in fighting COVID-19, and are seeking support from governmental agencies to accelerate this program."