COVID-19 after being declared as a global pandemic has become a grave danger and an international emergency. COVID-19 is caused by a form of a Coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. Even though it shares some similar genetics with the earlier discovered Coronaviruses, its mutations are still beyond the scope of science. Knowing and understanding the mutation of SARS-CoV-2, and the way it behaves when it overtakes the cells in a human body is upmost in the to-do list of virologists across the globe.
A team of virologists from Frankfurt University took the job of studying and understanding SARS-CoV-2 in their hands. They administered the growth and behavior of SARS-CoV-2 in controlled human cell culture, using the mePROD method. Their findings were later published in the paper, “Proteomics of SARS-CoV-2-infected host cells reveals therapy targets”, on Thursday.
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It is known that viruses usually grow and replicate themselves by taking over the protein production of their host cell. However, SARS-CoV-2 behaves in a slightly different manner, and instead of using the existing protein production of the host, it mutates the host cell to produce more protein than it usually does, and then the virus feed over that surplus protein to replicate itself.
Hence, the scientists now have the idea that if they can inhibit the protein production inside the host cell that the virus is residing in, they can reduce the spread of COVID-19. The good news is that they have already pinpointed a few drugs that did the trick for them such as, WP1122 and 2-DG.
Jindrich Cinatl, who happens to be the lead author in the study, has a point of view that utilizing the already existing drugs to combat the disease is better than formulating new drugs. The drugs that already exist have been used, tested, and perfected over a passage of time and they are least likely to cause any other harmful side effects. Creating new drugs, on the other hand, will take considerable time and one cannot be sure of how they would react with the already suffering human body.
The scientists are ready to proceed with clinical testing in accordance with their research.
Bojkova, D., Klann, K., Koch, B. et al. Proteomics of SARS-CoV-2-infected host cells reveals therapy targets. Nature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2332-7