UTSA professor hopes research leads to ‘Tamiflu’ for coronavirus

Dr. Doug Frantz and his research team are hoping the treatment will help people dealing with symptoms of COVID-19

SAN ANTONIO – The University of Texas at San Antonio announced this week one of its chemistry professors has been developing a treatment that could potentially help people suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.

Dr. Doug Frantz, along with his research team, have been working with scientists across Texas for for over a decade. Together, they have developed new drugs to treat chronic pain, cancer, and infectious diseases.

“San Antonio has many pieces to the puzzle now to really do homegrown drug discovery here like we’ve never done before,” said Frantz.

Roughly 250 unique compounds, which were developed by Frantz’s undergraduate and graduate students were shipped to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston to be tested.

“These are compounds that are very similar to chemical make-up to the hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, and that we are obviously are all very familiar with at this point,” he said.

Both are immunosuppressive drugs which are used to treat and prevent Malaria, but Frantz said the goal is create a treatment similar to Tamiflu.

“It’s always great to have a multiple toolset on your shelf to be able to pull off to help people with these symptoms,” said Frantz.

He said it could be another five to eight years before people can get their hands on that type of treatment. He also added clinical trials will need to happen before.

However, he said the outbreak of the virus has led to more research across the country.

“It has brought literally all of us together. Whether you’re a chemist or biologist or engineers”.

Frantz believes his students will ultimately pave the way fora better understanding of the deadly virus.

“You got to give a lot of credit to these students because they’re the ones that are going to be the next generation of scientists,” said Frantz.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.