Coronavirus-suppressing molecule developed
Nature Communications: Coronavirus Inhibitor Developed
Scientists led by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL) have developed a molecule that disrupts the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection mechanism. This is reported in an article published in the journal Nature Communications.
The target of the molecule is the PLpro enzyme, which helps the coronavirus replicate and suppresses the host’s immune response. Initially, the scientists used computational modeling to predict whether compounds synthesized from the previously identified non-covalent inhibitor PLpro would effectively bind to the enzyme and impair its function, and then tested them in the lab.
The modified molecule, which is already a covalent inhibitor, forms a strong chemical bond with the intended target protein and thus increases the effectiveness of antiviral treatment. Using mammalian cells, the scientists demonstrated that the inhibitor molecule reduces the replication efficiency of the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, as well as delta and omicron variants.