Research Against COVID-19 Drugs Continues
Already created drugs that protect people from malaria and SARS can help fight the coronavirus-19 epidemic, scientists say.
In China, molecular biologists have found that the coronavirus COVID-19 can penetrate into human cells not only through the ACE2 receptor but also in another way - through the protein growth of the CD147 molecule. The results of the experiments of scientists on the eve of the electronic scientific library bioRxiv reported.
вЂњWe know that the virus uses the ACE2 receptor to penetrate the body. However, since it is often found in the cells of the heart, kidneys, and genitals, the fight against the virus through this protein can negatively affect these organs. We isolated another receptor, the molecules of which attacks the virus. This expands the potential arsenal of means to suppress the infection, "- scientists write.
The COVID-19 virus, which caused an outbreak of pneumonia in China and several other countries, penetrates human and other mammalian lung cells using ACE2 protein molecules that cover lung cells. These outgrowths, as scientists have discovered long ago, play an important role in the life of SARS, another dangerous virus, the causative agent of SARS.
Chinese scientists from the Fourth Military Medical University in Xi'an and the Institute of Biotechnology in Beijing found that the pathogen COVID-19 uses at least one other way to get into human tissues and cells. This is the protein receptor CD147.
Scientists came to this discovery, drawing attention to the fact that the SARS virus uses these molecules during penetration into human and other mammalian cells. In addition, experts have found that these molecules play an important role in the fight against other viral infections and malaria. Guided by this idea, Chinese experts processed culture of lung cells with antibodies that block the work of CD147 and tried to infect them with the COVID-19 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 envelope of the virus could fuse with CD147. These results suggest that already created drugs that protect people from malaria and SARS can help fight the COVID-19 epidemic, scientists say.
In turn, American scientists have proposed using antibodies that are in the blood of already ill COVID-19 and successfully cured for the treatment of coronavirus. According to scientists, this method of immunotherapy can be introduced very quickly, without waiting for the development of the much-anticipated vaccine. The results of the study are published in the journal - The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The method is based on the creation of serum containing viral antibodies obtained from the blood of patients who have already recovered from the new coronavirus. This serum is not a full-fledged vaccine and will not be able to 100% protection against infection, but its introduction will provide temporary protection, will slow down the spread of COVID-19 and, thus, gain time to create a full-fledged vaccine, scientists say.
According to the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University, to date, more than 77,000 people have successfully recovered from COVID-19. Antibodies to this pathogen will remain in their blood for several months, and maybe even years.
"The deployment of this option does not require research or development," the words of one of the authors of the study, immunologist Arturo Casadevall, are quoted in a university press release. "It can be deployed within a few weeks, as it relies on standard blood banking practice."
The serum can be used for people at risk - uninfected family members of an infected patient or to strengthen the immunity of medical workers in the area affected by the pathogen.
Previously, scientists announced the first major change in the genome of coronavirus. It is thanks to this change that a virus variant has appeared that is better adapted to life in the human body, the researchers believe.