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Vulnerable protein of Coronavirus identified

Date: 01 August 2020 Tags: Biotechnology


A new study in Nature has found that pharmacological inhibition of a protein called PLpro blocks virus replication and also strengthens our immune response.



When the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 enters a human cell, it hijacks the cell mechanism. One of its proteins, called PLpro, is produced by the human cell itself after the virus hijacks the cell mechanism.



  • When SARS-CoV-2 infects us, the infected body cells release messenger substances known as type 1 interferons.

  • These attract our killer cells, which kill the infected cells. SARS-CoV-2 fights back by letting the human cell produce PLpro.

  • In the case of an infection, the SARS-CoV-2 virus must overcome various defence mechanisms of the human body, including its non-specific or innate immune defence.

  • This protein suppresses the development of type 1 interferons, which would have attracted our killer cells.

  • Researchers have now been able to monitor these processes in cell culture. If they blocked PLpro, virus production was inhibited, and the innate immune response of the human cells was also strengthened.