Friday, Jul 03, 2020 | Last Update : 07:34 PM IST

101st Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra1866261011728178 Tamil Nadu98392560211321 Delhi92175630072864 Gujarat33999246011887 Uttar Pradesh2482517221735 West Bengal1981913037699 Rajasthan1878515043435 Telangana185709069275 Karnataka180168336272 Andhra Pradesh169347632206 Haryana1550911019251 Madhya Pradesh1410610815589 Bihar10914799478 Assam8956583212 Jammu and Kashmir76954856105 Odisha7316535333 Punjab56683989149 Kerala4594243626 Uttarakhand2791190937 Chhatisgarh2339193713 Jharkhand2339160512 Tripura140110931 Manipur12605790 Goa11984783 Himachal Pradesh9796179 Puducherry73930112 Nagaland5351820 Chandigarh4463676 Arunachal Pradesh182601 Mizoram1601230 Sikkim88490 Meghalaya50421
  Science   31 Mar 2020  An experimental drug designed by MIT may block coronavirus' entry into human cells

An experimental drug designed by MIT may block coronavirus' entry into human cells

AFP
Published : Mar 31, 2020, 5:16 pm IST
Updated : Mar 31, 2020, 5:16 pm IST

The potential drug is a short protein fragment, or peptide, that mimics a protein found on the surface of human cells, researchers said.

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (Image | NIAID-RML)
 This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (Image | NIAID-RML)

Boston: MIT scientists have designed a drug candidate that they say may block coronaviruses' ability to enter human cells, an advance that could help develop a possible treatment for COVID-19.

The potential drug is a short protein fragment, or peptide, that mimics a protein found on the surface of human cells, the researchers said.

 

They have shown that their new peptide can bind to the viral protein that coronaviruses use to enter human cells, potentially disarming it, according to the findings published on bioRxiv, an online preprint server.

The researchers have sent samples of the peptide to collaborators who plan to carry out tests in human cells.

The team began working on this project in early March, after the Cryo-EM structure of the coronavirus spike protein, along with the human cell receptor that it binds to, was published by a research group in China.

Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which is causing the current COVID-19 outbreak, have many protein spikes protruding from their viral envelope.

Studies of SARS-CoV-2 have also shown that a specific region of the spike protein, known as the receptor binding domain, binds to a receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).

This receptor is found on the surface of many human cells, including those in the lungs.

The ACE2 receptor is also the entry point used by the coronavirus that caused the 2002-03 SARS outbreak.

In hopes of developing drugs that could block viral entry, Genwei Zhang, a postdoctoral scholar at MIT, performed computational simulations of the interactions between the ACE2 receptor and the receptor binding domain of the coronavirus spike protein.

These simulations revealed the location where the receptor binding domain attaches to the ACE2 receptor -- a stretch of the ACE2 protein that forms a structure called an alpha helix.

The team then used peptide synthesis technology that their lab had previously developed, to rapidly generate a 23-amino acid peptide with the same sequence as the alpha helix of the ACE2 receptor.

Tags: coronavirus (covid-19), peptide, amino acid, sars-cov-2