With more than 1.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of April 9, 2020), and many more likely going untested, researchers around the world are racing to find solutions to this daunting challenge. Approved drugs are being explored as treatments for those afflicted, vaccines to prevent the long-term spread are in development, as well as many other efforts beyond drug discovery. To keep frontline healthcare professionals safe, manufacturers are reimagining production processes to make critical supplies, such as hand sanitizer and mask filters, testing methods are being optimized to be faster and more accurate, materials for new germ-resistant masks are being developed and new systems to sterilize medical equipment are being designed.
The scientists and technologists at CAS are all-in to conquer this challenge as well. As part of the global scientific community, we have an opportunity, and frankly an obligation, to do everything in our power to tackle this global pandemic that is significantly impacting so many lives. Aligned with our mission as a division of the American Chemical Society, we are leveraging all of our resources, expertise and capabilities to support this fight. As a specialist in scientific information solutions, we are providing resources and insight to accelerate COVID-19 research and analysis and are actively consulting with research and technology organizations around the globe to accelerate their efforts. Yet every day we ask ourselves, is there more we can do?
A new normal, but the same quality and commitment
The COVID-19 crisis is presenting unique challenges for everyone around the globe, including scientific researchers, patent offices and journal publishers. At CAS, our top priorities remain ensuring the success of our customers and the continuity of our operations, as well as the safety and well-being of our employees through this challenging time.
CAS is committed to maintaining the comprehensiveness and timeliness of our content collection that all of our customers depend on despite these unique circumstances. To ensure we can continue our normal curation process uninterrupted, all of our scientists have successfully transitioned to a 100% work from home model. Working in this manner is not new to us, as some of our content team has been working off-site for years. This existing infrastructure ensured a seamless transition for our team, allowing the timeliness and quality of our data collection, as well as the availability of our solutions, services and support, to continue unchanged from pre-COVID-19 levels.
Unique resources and insight accelerating COVID research
To ensure our customers working directly on COVID-19 treatments have the most up-to-date information, CAS scientists have mobilized to expedite inclusion of relevant research into the CAS data collection that underlies our information solutions, including SciFindern and STNext®.
Our solutions, which span the innovation lifecycle, are uniquely able to accelerate COVID-19 related research and development. SciFindern allows researchers to mine the rich history of relevant literature on related viruses, such as SARS and MERS, identify existing approved therapies with potential activity against COVID-19, and optimize synthetic pathways to ramp up production of drugs facing shortages. Formulus® reduces formulations iterations to get therapies and vaccines to market faster, and STN helps IP professionals explore the landscape surrounding a wide range of potential solutions.
Our team of information scientists is also building specialized open-source data collections to support research, data mining, machine learning and analytics applications. The initial data set made available to the public last week is comprised of nearly 50,000 known antiviral drugs and related chemical compounds assembled from CAS REGISTRY®, as well as related metadata including CAS Registry Number®, physical properties and connection tables for each substance. It was the first chemical substance collection contributed to the Allen Institute for AI’s COVID-19 Open Research Dataset “CORD-19”.
Learn more about the CAS COVID-19 Antiviral Candidate Compounds Dataset and download it here.
CAS scientists also recently published an open access Research Report in ACS Central Science summarizing insights from relevant published literature related to COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. Topics included clinical manifestations and treatment options, viral structure and mechanisms, antiviral agents, and diagnostics. Because SARS-CoV-2 is similar to other coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, therapies previously explored for these other viruses could also be applicable to SARS-CoV-2. I highly encourage everyone to read and share this information.
In ThisTogether ̶ CAS expertise is at your disposal
With a rapidly evolving and complex challenge like COVID-19, custom support is often most effective. To whatever extent the capabilities and expertise of CAS scientists and technologists are valuable to augment your COVID-19 research efforts, they are available to consult with you at no charge. Our team includes hundreds of scientists speaking over 50 languages with expertise in a wide range of scientific disciplines, as well as information management, advanced analytics, predictive synthesis, and much more. Possible opportunities include using our expert search service to get needed answers or analysis quickly, requesting custom-curated data sets relevant to a target of interest, or collaborating with our scientists on a challenging formulations problem.
Truly, whatever we can do within our capacity to contribute to your efforts related to COVID-19, we are prepared to undertake. If there are additional ways CAS can help you advance your research, we welcome your outreach to the CAS Customer Center.
On behalf of all of us at CAS, we wish you and yours the very best as we all navigate this unprecedented and difficult time. Stay safe and be well!