A team of biologists from the International Biophysical Society announced the creation of a longHR2_42 substance capable of suppressing all variants of SARS-CoV-2. To do this, they used part of the S-protein of the coronavirus envelope. The results of the research scientists published in the journal PNAS.
“The S-protein molecules in viable coronavirus particles consist of two parts, a short and a long one, which form a complex necessary for the virus to enter cells. We synthesized an analog of a short molecule that gets inside the S-protein and prevents the virus from infecting cells, ”said Stanford University professor Axel Brunger.
The S-protein is a spike-like outgrowth on the surface of the virus membrane, thanks to which SARS-CoV-2 penetrates into human and other mammalian cells. This is why most vaccines specifically target the S protein of the virus.
The new drug targets the HR1HR2 heptad digest, a part of the protein that plays a critical role in the virus’ entry into human cells. The drug causes HR1HR2 to bind to a scientists-modified version of the HR2 peptide, which inhibits the reproduction of the pathogen in the body.
In addition, HR1HR2 remains almost unchanged as SARS-CoV-2 evolves, due to which drugs that affect it act on all strains of the pathogen, including Omicron.
Now scientists are conducting experiments with mice infected with SARS-CoV-2. In the future, it is planned to use the drug by inhalation. This will prevent severe respiratory symptoms.