Dr. Kamyar Hadian is the Head of the Research Group ‘Assay Development and Screening Platform’ at the Helmholtz Zentrum München in Munich/Germany. Dr. Hadian’s laboratory focuses on two main research aspects: (i) unraveling mechanisms that drive or block ferroptosis, a regulated cell-death pathway and (ii) identifying and characterizing protein interactions and regulators of ubiquitin signaling pathways. In addition, his research group has deep understanding in employing biochemical high-throughput and phenotypic high-content imaging approaches combined with machine learning methods to identify and validate small molecule modulators for treatment of distinct diseases related to the fields of Cancer, Virology and Immunology.
Dr. Hadian studied Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and received his PhD at the Helmholtz Zentrum München/Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in the field of Virology (HIV research). After a short PostDoc period in the field of NF-kB signaling, he was appointed the Head of ‘Assay Development and Screening Platform’ at the HelmholtzZentrum München in 2010. In 2015 he became a tenured Principal Investigator. From 2016-2017 he had a parallel appointment as an Adjunct Associate Research Scientist at the Columbia University in New York/USA, where he joined Dr. Stockwell’s lab to establish a long-lasting transatlantic collaboration. Dr. Hadian is the author of >50 publications, 5 patent applications and 2 issued patents.
Acriflavine, a clinically aproved drug, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 and other betacoronaviruses
The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has been socially and economically devastating. Despite an unprecedented research effort and availability of vaccines, effective therapeutics are still missing to limit severe disease and mortality. Using high-throughput screening, we identified acriflavine as a potent papain-like protease (PLpro) inhibitor. NMR titrations and a co-crystal structure confirm that acriflavine blocks the PLpro catalytic pocket in an unexpected binding mode. We show that the drug inhibits viral replication at nanomolar concentration in cellular models, as well as in vivo in mice and ex vivo in human airway epithelia, with broad range activity against SARS-CoV-2 and other betacoronaviruses. Considering that acriflavine is an inexpensive drug approved in some countries, it may be immediately tested in clinical trials and play an important role during the current pandemic and future outbreaks.
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