Scientists at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have identified a drug that can be used in treating Covid-19. The researchers are preparing for the possibility of another wave of the pandemic.
The scientists have identified three new protein structures and mapped them in three-dimensional views. A secret identifier was discovered in the process which has been helping the coronavirus to hide from the immune system.
A specific pocket in the protein, nsp16 binds the virus-genomic fragment by a metal ion. This fragment is used by the coronavirus as the template for all the viral building blocks. Making a drug that will fit this unique pocket will block the function of this protein.
The team has been working on mapping the structure of a virus protein that is present in all variants of coronavirus. The research has provided critical information that could aid drug development against future variants of the coronavirus. The new drug is intended to work early phases of the infection.
Karla Satchell, professor of microbiology-immunology at Feinberg School of Medicine said that the world will be ready if another wave hits. "God forbid we need this, but we will be ready," said the researcher. She added that we need new approaches to drug discovery to fight the pandemic and possible infections from the mutated variants of coronavirus.
Satchell says the new drug can be taken for 3-4 days if someone around you has been diagnosed with Covid-19. This will ensure that people do not get sick badly if they were infected in the first place. The new drug is also expected to work against the common cold caused by coronavirus.
The study is published in the journal Science Signaling.