Scientists reveal substance blocking COVID-19 access to human cells

11:40, 24 November 2020
Scientists reveal substance blocking COVID-19 access to human cells Photo: Pexels

Swiss scientists from the University of Geneva have found drugs that can block the entry of COVID-19 and other viruses into human cells. The effectiveness of these inhibitors is 5,000 greater than the efficacy of the currently used medications.

The research results are published in the Chemical Science magazine. They show that viruses use a mechanism to enter cells called cellular uptake, mediated by thiols - some analogs of alcohols in which oxygen is replaced by sulfur. Sulfur compounds are found on the membrane of eukaryotic cells, bacteria, and the envelope of viruses. The interaction of thiols and sulfides gives rise to a process resulting from which the substrate penetrates the cell by fusion (endocytosis) or through membrane transfer. Thiols allow toxins of the diphtheria bacillus and viruses such as HIV to enter human cells. However, sulfur-containing substances in cellular uptake were considered controversial until the end of this study.

In the search for potential inhibitors that could be useful in the fight against coronavirus, scientists have found substances that are 500 times more effective than Ellman's reagent used to detect thiol groups and capable of inhibiting the mechanism of cellular absorption. Experiments have shown that one of the inhibitors can completely block the penetration of the virus into cells. According to researchers, this discovery will assist in the creation of new antiviral drugs. reported earlier that COVID-19 vaccines would be included in the list of vital drugs.