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Therapeutics & Diagnostics 22-016

ASK1 inhibitors as potential pan-antiviral drugs which limit SARS-CoV2 replication and pro-inflammatory cytokine production

Effect of ASK1 inhibition on HSV replication

Tech ID



K. Mossman
W. Demian

Patent Status

US patent pending

Development Status

Experimentally verified
Data is available upon request


Leigh Wilson
Associate Director, New Ventures


Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1), a MAPK kinase, is activated in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli, reactive oxygen species, and various other cellular stressors. Previous clinical studies have targeted ASK1 as a treatment for diabetic kidney disease, liver disease, or hypertension. McMaster researchers have, for the first time, identified ASK1 inhibitors (such as GS444217 and Selonsertib) as pan-antiviral inhibitors.

The novel findings demonstrate that ASK1 is required during viral replication, as it limits cytokine production such as IL6, TNF alpha, and IL8. ASKI inhibition demonstrates antiviral properties against a wide range of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.


Universal and pan-antiviral inhibitors:

  • SARS-CoV-2
  • VSV
  • HSV
  • HIV
  • Vaccinia


Unlike bacteria, viruses are not susceptible to antibiotics. However, antiviral medications are available to limit or inhibit virus replication and ultimately reduce disease outcome. ASK1 inhibitors specifically, are shown to be universal antiviral inhibitors which target viruses from diverse viral families.

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