A group of scientists from Southwestern University in Texas in the United States have discovered a protein that can be used to create treatments against covid-19. Among the academics who discovered was Brazilian scientist Beatriz Fontoura.
The study, published in the journal Science Advances, analyzes the Nsp1 protein: a molecule that blocks the activity of genes that promote viral replication of the coronavirus.
“When a virus infects a cell, the way the host cell reacts is by changing the path (or network) in some way to neutralize the viral infection. Viruses can reach many of these pathways to favor replication, ”the Brazilian scientist, a professor of cell biology, explained to the EurekAlert website.
In this regard, Nsp1 was selected after researchers evaluated the NS1 protein of influenza virus. “Because of some similarities between NS1 flu and Nsp1 coronavirus in their role in suppressing the antiviral response in the host cell, we decided to test whether these two proteins have a similar function,” said Ke Zhang, who is the first author of the article. scientific.
The work of academics is now trying to take a closer look at how Nsp1 alters viral replication. If the ability of the protein to block coronavirus replication is confirmed, there is a tendency for this mechanism to be used for therapeutic functions, including the creation of new treatments against covid-19.
“Research is promising, but in order to develop therapies in the future, we must first better understand this mechanism,” concluded researcher Ke Zhang.