Coronavirus Drug Target Spots Identified By Scripps Research
According to a study from scientists at Scripps Research, the potential vulnerability of the new coronavirus at the root of COVID-19 has been revealed.
The new study has shown that the novel coronavirus can be targeted with drugs and other therapies.
Scientists studied antibodies isolated from a SARS patient and understood how they latch on to a specific area of the SARS virus.
And structural mapping revealed that the antibody binds to nearly identical sites on both SARS and the novel coronavirus.
The team of researchers then observed how the SARS antibody attaches to the same spot on the novel coronavirus at a ‘near-atomic-scale resolution.’
The antibody didn’t latch on the coronavirus surface as strongly as SARS, but it definitely helped to identify spots of weakness. The spot could be a vulnerable site common to the viruses of the coronavirus family.
Structure-based design of therapeutics and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 can be made possible by the knowledge of conserved sites like this. Knowledge of such weak spots can be helpful in the future also for preventing other coronavirus outbreaks, said lead author Dr. Ian Wilson.
Dr. Ian Wilson described the area of the virus as a ‘possible Achilles heel’. The virus would be vulnerable to certain drugs and is crucial to showing how it spreads, suggested the study published in the journal Science on Friday.
The researchers said the vulnerable area of the virus is difficult to find, however, the research is ‘adding to the mystery.’
Co-author Meng Yuan said they found that this region is usually hidden inside the virus, and only exposed when that part of the virus changes its structure, as it would in natural infection.’ This region could be the potential drug target spots of the novel coronavirus.
SARS was originated in South China in 2002 from horseshoe bats. The virus then jumped to humans and infected more than 8,000 people, killing almost 800. The spread of the virus was suppressed by quarantines, lockdowns, and other measures.
SARS-CoV-2 which causes the deadly COVID-19 is closely related to the SARS of 2002. It emerged in the city of Wuhan in China in late 2019. The virus then spread to over 180 countries, infecting nearly 13 lack and killing more than 69,000 people. The development of a vaccine or therapeutic is very crucial to contain the spread of the disease.
Editor’s Note; Coronavirus Drug Target Spots Identified By Scripps Research, Vulnerable spots of coronavirus identified