- The new study will allow existing drugs to be repurposed.
- COVID19 coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) can enter human cells not only through the ACE2 receptor, like a number of other viruses, but also through another protein.
- There are a myriad of labs around the world, working to find treatment.
Chinese molecular biologists from the Air Force Military University and the Institute of Biotechnology in Beijing claim the COVID19 coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) can enter human cells not only through the ACE2 receptor, like a number of other viruses, but also through another protein.
The scientists state:
“We are well aware that the virus uses the ACE2 receptor to enter the body. However, since it is often found in the cells of the heart, kidneys, and genitals, fighting the virus through this protein can negatively affect these organs. We have isolated another receptor whose molecules are attacked by the virus. This expands the possible Arsenal of tools for suppressing infection.“
The Air Force Medical University, formerly known as the Fourth Military Medical University until 2017, is a Chinese military institution of higher learning, affiliated to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
As it turned out, the pathogen COVID-19 uses the CD147 protein receptor, a protein that in humans is encoded by the BSG gene. Chinese specialists treated the culture of lung cells with antibodies that block the work of CD147 and tried to infect them with a new coronavirus. It turned out that even relatively small concentrations of synthetic antibodies completely blocked the spread of the virus.
Later, by observing infected cells with an electron microscope, scientists confirmed that the virus envelope can merge with CD147. These results suggest that already created drugs that protect people from malaria and SARS can help fight the COVID-19 epidemic. It is an important discovery that will allow the use of existing drugs to treat the virus. Repurposing drugs will expedite the process of treatment and also will be able to shorten the time of the spread of the pandemic.
Additionally, a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of Remdesivir in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 is currently being conducted in China. Data from this trial is expected by April 2020. Remdesivir is a novel antiviral drug in the class of nucleotide analogs. It was developed by Gilead Sciences and as a treatment for Ebola virus. So far, this experimental drug is raising safety concerns. With the new study findings, there are other alternate protocols that can be repurposed to treat COVID19.
It is already known that the COVID19 type of virus is in the same group of viruses as SARS and MERS. In the past decades those two viruses have claimed the lives of many people all over the world. The full genome sequence was released by Professor Yong-Zhen Zhang of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center & School of Public Health, Fudan University in Shanghai.
There are a myriad of labs around the world working to find a treatment and vaccines. At this time the virus continues to spread and so far it has not been stopped.
Currently, 150 nations have reported positive cases for the Coronavirus. Thus far there are 181,584 people infected in the world and 78,956 have recovered. However, 7,139 have died. Real time Coronavirus data is available here.