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Current Affairs

Hepatitis C drugs inhibits Coronavirus enzyme

Date: 21 November 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Several Hepatitis C drugs have been found to inhibit a crucial protein enzyme in the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. 

 

Background

The new study is part of efforts to quickly develop treatments for Covid-19 by repurposing existing drugs for other viral diseases.

 

Details

  • The coronavirus uses an enzyme called the main protease to replicate once it has entered the human cell using its spike protein.

  • The coronavirus expresses long chains of compounds, which must be cut by the main protease to become functional proteins.

  • Inhibiting the functioning of the main protease is vital to stopping the virus from spreading in patients with Covid-19.

  • Researchers looked at several well-known drug molecules for potential repurposing efforts. These included three hepatitis C protease inhibitors: telaprevir, narlaprevir, and boceprevir.

  • The experiments yielded promising results for certain hepatitis C drugs in their ability to bind and inhibit the main protease — particularly boceprevir and narlaprevir.

  • The higher the binding affinity, the more effective the inhibitor is at blocking the protease from functioning.

 

Inhibitor

An enzyme inhibitor is a molecule that binds to an enzyme and decreases its activity. By binding to enzymes' active sites, inhibitors reduce the compatibility of substrate and enzyme and this leads to the inhibition of Enzyme-Substrate complexes' formation.

 

Hepatitis C

  • An infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. The virus is spread by contact with contaminated blood; for example, from sharing needles or from unsterile tattoo equipment.

  • Most people have no symptoms. Those who do develop symptoms may have fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and yellowing of the eyes and skin.

  • Hepatitis C can be either acute or chronic. Unlike hepatitis A and B, there's no vaccine for hepatitis C.