A new study suggests that blocking a human protein may curtail the potentially deadly inflammatory reactions that many patients have to the novel coronavirus. The protein is known as factor D, and the researchers say there may already be drugs in development for other diseases that can block this protein.
The study, by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers, is published in the journal Blood.
Scientists already know that spike proteins on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 are the means by which it attaches to cells targeted for infection. The spikes first grab hold of a molecule called heparan sulfate, then uses the human protein ACE2 as its doorway into the attacked cell.
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In a series of experiments, researchers in the new study used normal human blood serum and three subunits of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to discover exactly how the virus hijacks the immune system and endangers normal cells.
The team found that by blocking factor D, they were able to stop the destructive chain of events triggered by SARS-CoV-2.
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
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