Coronaviruses are a type of virus that can cause severe respiratory illness. These viruses are responsible for a number of outbreaks in recent years, including the 2003 SARS outbreak and the current outbreak of COVID-19.
Now, researchers have discovered that Pocket feature shared by deadly coronaviruses could lead to pan-coronavirus antiviral treatment.
This pocket, known as the S2 subunit, is responsible for the main function of the coronavirus: binding to and infecting host cells. However, this pocket is also the target of a number of antiviral drugs.
Researchers believe that this discovery could lead to the development of pan-coronavirus antiviral drugs, which would be effective against all types of coronavirus. This would be a major step forward in the fight against these deadly viruses.
Current antiviral drugs are only effective against specific types of coronavirus. This means that if a new outbreak were to occur, it is possible that there would not be an effective treatment available.
Pan-coronavirus antiviral drugs would provide a much needed line of defense against these viruses. In the event of an outbreak, these drugs could be quickly distributed to those who need them most.
The development of pan-coronavirus antiviral drugs is still in its early stages. However, this discovery offers a promising start in the fight against these deadly viruses.
TheFeature Could Lead to a Pan-Coronavirus Antiviral Treatment
Since the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), researchers have been trying to find its Achilles’ heel.
Now, a team of researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has discovered a pocket-like feature shared by all known deadly coronaviruses.
This feature, which the team has christened the “SARS-CoV-2 recognition domain,” is found in a part of the viral spike protein that helps the virus bind to and enter human cells.
The discovery could lead to the development of a pan-coronavirus antiviral treatment that could be effective against not only SARS-CoV-2, but also other deadly coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV-1, the virus that caused the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak, and MERS-CoV, the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome.
“We hope that this pan-coronavirus treatment will be able to provide a therapeutic option for patients infected with any of these viruses,” said James Daly, the lead author of the study and a professor of biochemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The team’s discovery was published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
How the SARS-CoV-2 recognition domain works
To infect human cells, SARS-CoV-2 uses a key glycoprotein on its surface, known as the spike protein, to bind to and enter the cell.
The spike protein is made up of two subunits, S1 and S2, which are connected by a disulfide bond.
The S1 subunit contains the SARS-CoV-2 recognition domain, while the S2 subunit contains the protein’s fusion peptide, which helps the virus fuse its membrane with the cell membrane.
The team found that the SARS-CoV-2 recognition domain shares a similar structure to the SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV recognition domains.
What’s more, the team found that the SARS-CoV-2 recognition domain binds to a specific receptor on human cells, called ACE2.
The binding of the SARS-CoV-2 recognition domain to ACE2 is essential for the virus to infect human cells.
The team also found that the SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV recognition domains bind to ACE2, albeit with a lower affinity than SARS-CoV-2.
“This finding suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 recognition domain could be a target for the development of a pan-coronavirus antiviral treatment,” Daly said.
The next step
Daly and his team are now working on developing antiviral drugs that target the SARS-CoV-2 recognition domain.
“We are hopeful that these drugs will be effective against all three human coronaviruses,” Daly said. “We are also working on developing vaccines against these viruses.”