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Scientists modify decoy protein that neutralises coronavirus

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 06, 2020 Published on August 06, 2020

For SARS-CoV-2, this phenomenon happens via a receptor protein called ACE2

Scientists have modified a decoy proteinthat acts as a distraction to viruses and eventually blocks infectionto contain the novel coronavirus, Hindustan Times reported.

The researchers, including Erik Procko from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in the US, the virus binds itself with a receptor protein (signaling cells) to infect human cells.

They added that for SARS-CoV-2, this phenomenon happens via a receptor protein called ACE2. This is found particularly in tissues in the lungs, heart, arteries, kidneysand intestines. The protein plays many roles, which include the regulation of blood pressure and inflammation.

The researchers produced more than 2,000 mutant versions of ACE2 and analysed how these interacted with the coronavirus.

They discovered a combination of three mutations that produces a receptor so attractive to the virus that it targets the receptor rather than targeting ACE2.

When the scientists tested a soluble version of the newly engineered receptor, they found that when it is detached from cells, it is free to interact with the virus as a decoy receptor.

“Administering a decoy based on ACE2 might not only neutralise infection, but may have the additional benefit of rescuing lost ACE2 activity and directly treating aspects of Covid-19,” Procko said.

The scientists noted that the decoy receptor binds to the virus in live tissue cultures and effectively neutralises it.

However, they informed that further analysis is required to substantiate their study.

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Published on August 06, 2020
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