Oxford scientists develop rapid test to detect COVID-19 virus

COVID-19 increases risks for cancer patients common cold antibodies no help vs coronavirus

COVID-19 increases risks for cancer patients common cold antibodies no help vs coronavirus

There are common vulnerabilities among three lethal coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, such as frequently hijacked cellular pathways, that could lead to promising targets for broad coronavirus inhibition, according to a study by an worldwide research team that includes scientists from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University.

'This enzyme executes a double-whammy, ' said study senior author Shaun K. Olsen, associate professor of biochemistry and structural biology at UT Health San Antonio. Antibodies produced by the body's immune system bind to part of this protein and block the ability of this "key" to contact the host's cellular "barrier", Finzi said, thereby preventing the virus particle from infecting a cell host.

The information gathered by the American scientists helped Polish chemists produce two molecules that inhibit the virus' cutter, an enzyme that got the name SARS-CoV-2-PLpro.

Previous studies suggest that antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein peak two or three weeks after the onset of symptoms. Also, .X-ray crystallography of the molecules was performed.

Dr Nicole Robb, formerly a Royal Society Fellow at the University of Oxford and now at Warwick Medical School, commented, "A significant concern for the upcoming winter months is the unpredictable effects of co-circulation of SARS-CoV-2 with other seasonal respiratory viruses; we have shown that our assay can reliably distinguish between different viruses in clinical samples, a development that offers a crucial advantage in the next phase of the pandemic".

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'This is a critical point: The inhibitor is specific for this one viral enzyme and doesn't cross-react with human enzymes with a similar function, ' he added.

The comparison concluded that SARS-CoV-2-PLpro processes ubiquitin and ISG15 in a much manner than its SARS-1 counterpart.

Researchers say this approach exploits the fact that distinct virus types have differences in their fluorescence labelling due to differences in their surface chemistry, size, and shape.

By understanding similarities and differences of these enzymes in various coronaviruses, the researchers said it may be possible to develop inhibitors that are effective against multiple viruses.

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