A group of scientists at the University of Southwestern, Texas, United States, has discovered a protein that can be used to create a treatment against covid-19. Among the academics who made the discovery is the Brazilian scientist Beatriz Fontoura.
The research, which was published in the scientific journal Science Advances, analyzes the protein Nsp1: the molecule blocks the activities of genes that promote viral replication of the coronavirus.
“When a virus infects a cell, the way that the host cell reacts is by changing the path (or networks) in some way to neutralize the viral infection. Viruses can reach many of these pathways to favor replication, ”explained the Brazilian scientist, who is a professor of cell biology, to the EurekAlert website.
In this sense, Nsp1 was chosen after the researchers evaluated the NS1 protein of the influenza virus. “Due to some similarities between the NS1 of the flu and the Nsp1 of the coronavirus in their roles in suppressing the antiviral response in the host cell, we decided to test whether these two proteins shared a similar function,” said Ke Zhang, who is the first author of the article. scientific.
The work of academics now tries to see in more depth how Nsp1 alters viral replication. If the ability of the protein to block coronavirus multiplication is attested, the tendency is for this mechanism to be used for therapeutic functions, including the creation of new treatments against covid-19.
“Research is promising, but to develop therapies in the future, first we need to better understand this mechanism”, concluded researcher Ke Zhang.