COVID-19 Inhalant Therapies in the Pipeline

Professor of Biology Oscar Juarez
Oscar Juarez
Photo: David Ettinger

AN INHALANT THERAPY— CROWNase—developed by Illinois Institute of Technology researchers shows the potential to limit COVID-19 infection and is patent pending. Associate Professor of Biology Oscar Juarez conceptualized the project, with support from faculty members David Minh and Karina Tuz.

The team is now writing a paper detailing its preliminary results as well as working to advance the project to further stages of testing and development.


PROFESSOR DAVID MCCORMICK, president and director of IIT Research Institute, received $597,893 from the National Cancer Institute to perform the research project “Inhalation Studies of Recombinant Human Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2.” The inhaled therapy will soon advance to the United States Food and Drug Administration and, if approved, will advance to clinical trials led by the National Institutes of Health.

This inhalant therapy administers angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, providing non-cellular targets in the person’s respiratory tract to which the virus will bind, according to McCormick. This reduction in viral binding to human cells will reduce infectivity and disease severity.

Since October 2020 IITRI has been awarded more than $7.8 million for the development of biotherapeutic and therapeutic agents as well as the performance of studies focused on COVID-19.

Professor David McCormick
Photo: David Ettinger

Funding for the inhalation study reported in the IITRI article was supported by National Cancer Institute contract 75N91019D00013 (Task Order 75N91020F00002). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NCI.