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Current Affairs

Blocking key protein may guard against covid-19

Date: 13 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A new study suggests that blocking a human protein may curtail the potentially deadly inflammatory reactions that many patients have to the novel coronavirus.

 

Background

The protein is called Factor D, a serine protease that stimulates glucose transport for triglyceride accumulation in fats cells and inhibits lipolysis.

 

Details

  • The protein is known as factor D, and the researchers say there may already be drugs in development for other diseases that can block this protein.

  • Scientists already know that spike proteins on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 are the means by which it attaches to cells targeted for infection.

  • The spikes first grab hold of a molecule called heparan sulfate, then uses the human protein ACE2 as its doorway into the attacked cell.

  • In a series of experiments, researchers in the new study used normal human blood serum and three subunits of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to discover exactly how the virus hijacks the immune system and endangers normal cells.

  • The team found that by blocking factor D, they were able to stop the destructive chain of events triggered by SARS-CoV-2.

  • The researchers explained that when SARS-CoV-2 attacks the ACE2 receptors to proliferate and infect more cells in the human body, it also prevents Factor H from using the sugar molecule to bind with cells.

  • Factor H’s main function is to regulate the chemical signals that trigger inflammation and keep the immune system from harming healthy cells.