Study Discovers the Coronavirus Is Camouflaging Itself to Target Your Cells Which Is Why It Is So Infectious

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4Research done at the University of Texas

The researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center gave a full report how the virus achieved this feat. They finally resolved how the structure of the enzyme called nsp16 was being used to modify the messenger RNA cap of the virus SARS-CoV-2. Doctor Gupta who is from the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio said “It’s a camouflage,” Dr. Gupta said. “Because of the modifications, which fool the cell, the resulting viral messenger RNA is now considered as part of the cell’s own code and not foreign.”

Research done at the University of Texas

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5This will now help formulation of more effective drugs

Now that the 3D structure of nsp16 has been deciphered, this will enable the accurate formulation and design of antiviral drugs for COVID-19 and also test which ones are most effective in treating the virus and other emerging infections. The drugs that will possess new small molecules will prevent nsp16 from being used to modify the RNA of the virus to sneak into our bodies. Once this ability is neutralized, our immune system will do the rest by pouncing and attacking the virus because its camouflage will be off and it will be recognized as a foreign invader.

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Scientist doing research in lab

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6What the authors say

Co author of the study doctor Robert Hromas MD professor and dean of the Long School of Medicine said “Yogesh’s work discovered the 3D structure of a key enzyme of the COVID-19 virus required for its replication and found a pocket in it that can be targeted to inhibit that enzyme. This is a fundamental advance in our understanding of the virus.” Doctor Gupta added “Because of the modifications, which fool the cell, the resulting viral messenger RNA is now considered as part of the cell’s own code and not foreign.”

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Lead author of the study Doctor Gupta is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology at UT Health San Antonio and is a member of the university’s Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute.

What the authors say

Image Source: news.uthscsa.edu

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