World

Researchers explore common vulnerabilities in the three lethal coronaviruses

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 16, 2020 Published on October 16, 2020

The results were achieved by a collaboration among nearly 200 researchers from more than 14 leading institutions in six countries   -  istock/jarun011

Th global study highlighted several several shared cellular processes and protein targets that could help in prevention

Researchers, including scientists from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, found that there are common vulnerabilities among three lethal coronaviruses — SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV.

The vulnerabilities include hijacked cellular pathways, that could lead to promising targets for broad coronavirus inhibition.

The researchers noted that the world has witnessed three deadly coronaviruses in the last 20 years: SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and MERS-CoV.

Global pandemic

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, has caused a global pandemic that led to over 37 million confirmed cases and more than one million deaths.

The authors of the study identified commonalities among coronaviruses and highlighted several shared cellular processes and protein targets that could be considered in order to prevent the future epidemic associated with coronaviruses.

Global collaboration

The results were achieved by a collaboration among nearly 200 researchers from more than 14 leading institutions in six countries.

Lead author Dr Christopher Basler, professor and director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said in a statement: “The efforts identified at least 20 host genes whose protein products significantly alter how much virus is produced by infected cells.”

He added: “Those proteins represent potential targets for therapeutic intervention. For example, if a cellular protein is required for efficient virus growth, a drug that inhibits the cellular protein should slow the infection.”

Earlier studies have found over 300 host cell proteins that can interact with SARS-CoV-2 proteins.

For the recent study, the Basler laboratory screened each of these for their capacity to change how well the virus grows.

The global study also analysed the medical records of about 7,40,000 patients with SARS-CoV-2 to identify approved therapeutics with the potential for rapid deployment to treat Covid-19.

Their research was published in the journal Science and EurekAlert!

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Published on October 16, 2020
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