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Transfer BONUS: Is there soon a new substance against Long Covid?

Solution for Long Covid?


It all started when Berlin Cures GmbH was founded by a group of scientists from the Max Delbrück Center (MDC), Charité Berlin, and the German Heart Center Berlin in September 2014 as a spin-off to bring the very promising active ingredient BC 007 to market. BC 007 is a DNA aptamer, a chemically synthesized single-stranded oligonucleotide consisting of 15 units with the ability to bind a specific molecule through its own 3D structure. BC 007 is intended to act as an aptamer against GPCR autoantibodies, which are believed to be associated with dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease. The goal of the scientists was to develop a therapy for this condition.

Corona pandemic threatens the existence of Berlin Cures GmbH

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Berlin Cures GmbH was in Phase II of the approval studies for BC 007. However, pandemic-related measures in the clinical sector brought the study to a near standstill and posed an existential threat to the young company.

New strategy with the help of Transfer BONUS

Quick rethinking was thus required. The cardiologist, physicist, and CEO of Berlin Cures, Dr. Johannes Müller, quickly responded and applied for funding through the Transfer BONUS to commission the investigation of the antiviral effect of BC 007. In addition to a vaccine, there was also a lack of effective medications for COVID-19 patients. Since the interaction of BC 007 with autoantibodies was known, there was a chance to bind and block Sars-CoV-2 virus proteins in this way. The NMR research group, led by HU scientist and chemist Dr. André Dallmann, conducted the investigation. Intermolecular interactions can be examined on an atomic level with NMR spectroscopy. The research group quickly identified several potential targets of BC 007 on coronavirus proteins.


A study on the effectiveness of BC 007 against Long Covid has been initiated.

The collaborative efforts of Berlin Cures and the NMR research group at Humboldt University, which began with the Transfer BONUS program, are bearing fruit. In July 2023, Parexel International and the participating clinics launched a Europe-wide clinical study to investigate the effectiveness of BC 007 against Long Covid. They were also able to secure research funding under the ProValid innovation program, which will support the development of a BC 007-based ELISA test for the detection of autoantibodies causing Long Covid.

The study is expected to take some time to complete.

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