Coronavirus: EU-funded EXSCALATE4COV project to launch a clinical trial in Italy for to treat COVID-19 patients

The use of Raloxifene in clinical trials for patients with mild symptoms caused by the coronavirus has been greenlighted by the Italian pharmaceutical regulatory agency, AIFA,

The EU-funded consortium Exscalate4CoV, using European supercomputing to counter the Coronavirus pandemic and improve the management and care of patients, announced in June that Raloxifene (a registered generic drug used to treat osteoporosis) could be effective to treat coronavirus. Today the consortium announces that the clinical trial will start soon, to validate the safety and efficiency of Raloxifene in blocking the replication of the virus in cells, and thus hold up the progression of the disease.

The study will take place at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘L. Spallanzani' in Rome, Italy and will also involve the Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan. More Institutions and Nations will join the trial soon. Up to 450 participants in three separate treatment groups will be administered a 7-day treatment of Raloxifene capsules in a randomised sample.

E4C combines high performance computing power and AI with biological processing. Thanks to the supercomputers, scientists were able to perform and accelerate the screening of 500 billions molecules and specifically to test 10K molecules in vitro. At the core of E4C is Exscalate (EXaSCale smArt pLatform Against paThogEns), at present the most powerful and cost-efficient intelligent supercomputing platform in the world. Exscalate has a "chemical library" of 500 billion molecules and a processing capacity of more than 3 million molecules per second. The E4C consortium, coordinated by Dompé Farmaceutici , is composed by 18 institutions from seven European countries.

The data gathered by Exscalate4CoV are available to the scientific community10 peer reviewed articles (10 more in progress), 20K in vitro experiments, and the virtual simulation of the Sars-Cov-2 virus to perform further simulations. The international magazine “International Journal of Molecular Sciences ” published a special issue dedicated to EXSCALATE4COV.

The project received funding for €3 million by the European Commission, and is an example of how the EU's research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 may help improving research to fasten the researches about the coronavirus pandemic and develop new treatments.

More information in the press release (in Italian).


Virtual simulation of the effects of Raloxifene, the FDA-approved drug found by Europe’s Exscalate4CoV to be a potential inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 replication, and approved by the Italian national drug agency to be part of a clinical trial.


Video, courtesy of Nanome