Houston: The discovery of a small molecule that neutralises the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, could provide a new basis for medication to shorten the course of the virus after exposure to it, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Houston (UH), US, said that the molecule could provide immediate protection against viral infection and thus, may be suitable for people across age groups, particularly for high-risk and immunocompromised individuals who typically do not generate sufficient antibodies after vaccination.
The molecule worked unlike Pfizer’s antiviral treatment Paxlovid, which, they said, was only useful during the first three days of showing symptoms. The discovery is described in the journal Biomedicines. The molecule’s discovery began at the height of the pandemic, according to the study, as the team of scientists screened 15,09,984 feature-rich compounds in the UH Research Computing Data Core.
Our team is thrilled with the discovery of a small molecule therapeutic that inhibits the interaction between the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus and the ACE2 receptor of the infected individual, said Bradley McConnell, professor at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy and in whose lab the discovery took place.
In the experimentation phase, the team selected the top 15 molecules that disrupted the interaction between the spike protein and the ACE2 receptor.
Using molecular dynamic simulations, they found favourable interactions between some of the compounds from the libraries and the spike protein’s ACE receptor binding domain interface, potentially neutralising the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The molecule that formed the closest association was CD04872SC, the study said. Reyes-Alcaraz, the study’s first author said,
We were able to experimentally observe that CD04872SC also inhibited the infection of the SARS-CoV-2 variants Delta and Omicron.
Craft, associate professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry. said,
To demonstrate the binding between CD04872SC and the spike proteins of each variant, we performed a thermal shift assay which measures changes in the thermal denaturation temperature, serving as an indicator of the stability of a protein under varying conditions such as when bound by a drug, pH, ionic strength, or sequence mutation.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants Delta and Omicron continue to be a major threat to patients of all ages.
The variants demonstrate how easily the virus can accommodate antigenic changes in its spike protein without the loss of fitness.
The Omicron variant has particularly stressed health care systems around the world. Therefore, identifying effective antiviral agents to combat this infectious disease is urgently needed, said Mr. McConnell.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradic