ZAGREB, May 7 (FENA) – Croatian scientist and director of the Institute of Biochemistry (IBC2) in Frankfurt Ivan Djikic and his team have discovered a potential weak point of the new coronavirus that would enable a two-pronged therapy strategy – stopping the spread of the virus and strengthening the immune response.
“No one has tested this one concept and the new idea. We are the first to have a possible cure that will have a dual effect on both the virus and the stimulating immune response,” Djikic told the Nova TV Daily on Wednesday.
He added that the discovery is a big step towards finding a cure because one cannot succeed in treating Covid if nothing is known about the virus.
Until now, medicines manufactured to treat other diseases have been used in the treatment of seriously ill patients, but, Djikic points out, there is no single drug that has proven effective in critical clinical trials.
“This is now a chance that for the first time we are creating something that is unique and focused on the viral enzyme, and based on that we can create a more efficient and specific cure for this type of virus,” he pointed out, Hina reports.
The idea was to find a weak point, not a cure
The project arose from the idea of how to find the Achilles heel, that is, the weak point of the coronavirus, and not the cure, said Đikić. Within two months and in collaboration with nine laboratories from Germany and the Netherlands, they were able to uncover the secret – where the virus is weak.
On the Twitter profile, Djikic said on his Twitter profile that it was the best experience of his career that required an exceptional team effort.
The next step is to translate this basic information into quality scientific research in the clinic as soon as possible. He noted that they had learned that a clinical trial was already under way in New York to try to destroy the viral enzyme they discovered.
If that drug acts on their enzyme, then those are two big discoveries, he pointed out. Otherwise, research is continuing to provide a brand new drug within six to 12 months.
“Although we may need longer, but for the future it will be a huge advantage. Not only for this virus, but also for other viruses “, he pointed out.
Protease is an important coronavirus enzyme
But what is it really about? According to a statement from IBC2, the scientists determined that the papain protease (PLpro) of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is a necessary viral enzyme and a potentially weak site of the virus.
PLpro is required for the processing of viral polypeptides and the assembly of new viral particles within human cells. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 uses this enzyme to alleviate the antiviral immune response, which helps the virus adjust the host’s immune system in its favor. The virus thus multiplies and spreads easily.
Focusing on this essential protease, scientists have discovered that inhibition of PLpro blocks the spread of the virus and increases antiviral immunity in human epithelial cells, which are the major entry point of the pathogen.
Epithelium or epithelial tissue is a thin tissue that covers all external body surfaces and encloses the internal body cavities of multicellular animal or plant organisms. (Croatian Encyclopedia)
Enzymes are biological catalysts, substances that accelerate biochemical processes in living organisms. Enzymes are products of a living cell, and by chemical nature they are proteins. Proteases are all enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis (cleavage of molecules in reaction with water) of a peptide bond and participate in proteolysis, that is, protein degradation. (Croatian Encyclopedia)
Fena / Balkantimes.press
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