Virucidal Coating to prevent Covid19
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Virucidal Coating to Prevent Covid19 Transmission

A study to engineer virucidal coatings to prevent the COVID-19 transmission has been initiated by a team of researchers at Faridabad-based Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB).

Dr. Samrat Mukhopadhay from the Department of Textile Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and Dr. Milan Surjit from the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) have collaborated to conduct this study.

The membranes of microorganisms can be targeted selectively by the engineering of antimicrobial molecules and Dr. Bajaj’s group has expertise in this. To target the membranes of COVID-19 viral particles selectively, the group will be extending their expertise on developing the molecules here. To provide a virucidal coating that can potentially inhibit the viral transmission, these molecules will then be used for engineering of different surfaces like plastic, glass, and textiles including polyester, nylon, and cotton,

To find out how to inhibit the activity of nsp12 protein, Prof. Deepak T. Nair at the Centre is leading a research group to discover ways to fight the virus.

A homology model of the three-dimensional structure of the nsp12 protein was built by using computational tools. Then, to identify possible inhibitors of the nsp12 protein, this model was

used. From the studies, it is predicted that nsp12 protein activity could be inhibited by the methylcobalamin form of Vitamin B12 binding to the active site of the protein. To validate this hypothesis, the group is now seeking to carry out further experiments. Methylcobalamin may immediately be established in the field if it is found effective.

Additionally, to identify different inhibitors of the protein by high throughput plate assays, the team has initiated efforts to purify nsp12 protein. For developing novel drugs against the Covid-19 virus, these inhibitors will serve as lead molecules.

Furthermore, using computational tools, the team is trying to identify possible inhibitors of two other proteins from the novel coronavirus. These include nsp13, which has an RNA helicase activity and nsp14, which has a methyltransferase and exoribonuclease activity.

To develop a drug for the ongoing pandemic, given the intense efforts, researchers pointed out that the availability of live virus to carry out experiments that can validate the computational studies will strengthen the efforts at RCB.

A group of scientists at the Centre along with Dr. Priyanka Maurya of S H C Shine Biotech is working to develop a highly specific and sensitive, cost-effective, colorimetric, low-resource-requiring and point-of-care test for detecting Covid-19. With Dr. Shailendra Vyas of Bioheaven, another group is working on a probe-based RT PCR diagnostics kit. To develop a rapid molecular diagnostic kit, along with Dr. Sandeep Verma of InnoDx, a third group from the center is working and with Dr. Suresh Thakur of NGIVD, the fourth group is working on PCR-based in-vitro diagnostic kits.

Virucidal Coating to prevent Covid19