"Deceive the new coronavirus once and it won't be able to cause infection of cells." So says a new research done in the USA and published in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry.
Scientists at Ohio State University have developed fragments of proteins - called peptides - that deceive the virus. They "convince" the coronavirus to attach to them, an action that blocks the virus's ability to actually enter the cell.
These peptides fit perfectly into a groove in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, which would normally be used to access a host cell.
“Our goal is that whenever SARS-CoV-2 comes into contact with the peptides, the virus is inactivated. That's because the virus's Spike protein is already linked to something it needs to use to bind to the cell, ”said Amit Sharma, co-author of the study and an assistant professor of veterinary biosciences in Ohio.
"To do this, we have to catch the virus while it is still outside the cell."
New Nasal Spray
The Ohio state team plans to deliver these peptides manufactured in the form of a nasal spray, or aerosolized surface disinfectant, to block SARS-CoV-2 access points and entry into the cell.
"With the results we generated with these peptides, we are well positioned to move on to product development steps," said Ross Larue, co-author of the study.
Sharma described these findings as the beginning of a product development process that will be continued by the team of virologists and pharmaceutical chemists who collaborate in this work.