Newswise — Up until recently, COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) may have been a relatively new phenomena to the general public, but Wichita State University medical chemist Bill Groutas, two virologists from Kansas State University, and a physician/virologist from the University of Iowa have been working on a cure for coronaviruses for more than three years.

“It’s a big problem, with no vaccines available,” said Groutas. “The coronavirus could be around for a long time."

Groutas, along with K-State researchers Yungeong Kim and Kyeong-Ok Chang and Stanley Perlman at the University of Iowa, have been working to develop antiviral drugs to treat Middle East Respiratory Syndrome caused by MERS-CoV. That work extends to other human viruses that are similar to COVID-19.

He says there are currently no antiviral drugs available for coronaviruses, which include SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV2. The team has identified compounds that show efficacy against MERS-CoV in mice and are also potent inhibitors of a SARS-CoV2 enzyme that is essential for virus replication.

If their compound works, Groutas said, it can be used in combination with other compounds – Gilead remdesivir polymerase inhibitors – to reduce the impact of the coronavirus.

According to Groutas, some researchers in Israel believe there could be a vaccine for COVID-19 within three months, although in the U.S. it is estimated that it will take a year or more before a vaccine is realistic.

# # # # #

Contact: Joe Kleinsasser, co-director of news and media relations at Wichita State University, 316-204-8266 or [email protected]


Wichita State is distinctive for opening pathways to applied learning, applied research and career opportunities, alongside unsurpassed classroom, laboratory and online education. The university's beautiful 330-acre main campus is a supportive, rapidly expanding learn-work-live-play environment, where students gain knowledge and credentials to prepare for fulfilling lives and careers. Students enjoy a wide selection of day, evening and summer courses in more than 200 areas of study at the main campus and other locations throughout the metro area and online. WSU's approximately 16,000 students come from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 other countries. Wichita State's Innovation Campus is an interconnected community of partnership buildings, laboratories and mixed-use areas where students, faculty, staff, entrepreneurs and businesses have access to the university's vast resources and technology. For more information, follow us on Twitter at and Facebook at