HomeWorldNovel spray that could...

Novel spray that could prevent COVID-19 infection developed


Washington: Researchers have created new molecules that can be sprayed into the nose to block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering the lungs and causing infection.

The COVID-19 virus enters the body through the lungs when people breathe, resulting in illness.

Engineers at the Johns Hopkins University in the US have now created thin, thread-like strands of molecules called supramolecular filaments capable of blocking the virus in its tracks.

“The idea is that the filaments will work like a sponge to absorb the COVID-19 virus and other viruses before they have the chance to bind to cells in our airways,” said Honggang Cui, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering.

“Even if the therapeutic can block the virus for an hour or two, that can be helpful when people must be in a public setting,” said Cui, who led the research published in the journal Matter.

The key to this approach is the way that the filaments carry a receptor called angiotensin converting enzyme-2, or ACE2 which are also found in cells in the nasal lining, the lung surface, and small intestine.

They have many biological roles, such as regulating blood pressure and inflammation. The novel coronavirus enters our bodies primarily through interactions with this receptor.

The spike protein of the virus clicks into this receptor, much like a key going into a lock, allowing it to enter the cell and replicate. Once the virus is locked into the cell, it prevents the cell from executing its normal functions, leading to and exacerbating infections.

It is known to researchers that adding extra ACE2 into airways can block virus entry, essentially preventing the virus from binding with ACE2 in the lungs. However, since ACE2 has biological functions, simply delivering more ACE2 to the body may have unforeseeable complications.

The team’s newly developed filament, called fACE2, serves as a decoy binding site for the virus, with each filament offering several receptors for the COVID-19 spike protein to attach to, and silences ACE2’s biological functions to avoid potential side effects.

“Our plan is that this would be administered as a nasal or oral spray, allowing it to be suspended in the lungs or settle on the surface of airways and lungs. When a person breathes in the COVID-19 virus, the virus will be fooled into binding to the decoy receptor and not the ACE2 receptors on cells,” Cui said.

Since the filaments attract SARS-CoV-2’s characteristic spike protein, it should work equally well on any current or future variants, the researchers said.

They tested its design in mouse models and found their filament was not only present in the rodents’ lungs up to 24 hours later, but also elicited no inflammation or obvious damage to the lungs’ structures.

This, the researchers said, suggests that fACE2 may be retained in the lungs for a period of time, and is safe. They noted that the molecules also may have the potential to treat people with active COVID-19 infections by thwarting replication of newly acquired viruses.

“We think that fACE2 could also be used on other respiratory viruses that use the ACE2 receptor to infiltrate cells. The filament design is versatile and can be modified to carry various therapeutic proteins that target different receptors,” adds Hongpeng Jia, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. (PTI)

Most Popular

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Study Narrows Down Long COVID Symptoms To Just 7

Long COVID, the medical mystery that continues to boggle the minds...

Depressed Young Adults Likely To Develop Heart Disease And Vice-Versa

Young adults or people in the 18-25 age group are at...

More Women Are Dying From ‘Preventable’ Cervical Cancer: Study

More older women have succumbed to cervical cancer in recent years,...

Read Now

Study Narrows Down Long COVID Symptoms To Just 7

Long COVID, the medical mystery that continues to boggle the minds of scientists and medical researchers, comes with an extensive list of symptoms. But a new study narrowed down the 47 reported symptoms to just seven. Published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Disease, the study by the...

Depressed Young Adults Likely To Develop Heart Disease And Vice-Versa

Young adults or people in the 18-25 age group are at risk of suffering two serious health issues: depression and heart disease. A new study found a “two-way street” relationship between depression and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in younger adults. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine...

Obesity Found To Cause Alzheimer’s-Like Condition; Weight Loss Reduces Risk

Obese people are at risk of suffering a condition similar to Alzheimer’s disease. But this can be countered by healthy weight loss. A McGill University study published Tuesday in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease presented a correlation between obesity-associated neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s. Using data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging...

More Women Are Dying From ‘Preventable’ Cervical Cancer: Study

More older women have succumbed to cervical cancer in recent years, even though the condition is  preventable. A new study from the University of California, Davis found a spike in older women suffering from late-stage cancer. And since they develop the disease at an older age, their chances...

Befitting response given to every ‘misadventure’ from LoC to LAC: President Murmu

NEW DELHI: President Droupadi Murmu on Tuesday said the government has been laying constant emphasis on modernising the military as it firmly believes...

NIA files chargesheet against IS operative for conspiring to recruit youth for terror activities in India

NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday filed a chargesheet against an accused in a case related to a conspiracy hatched...

First-Of-Its-Kind $1 Glove Can Detect Fetal Positions To Aid Precarious Births

An ingenious innovation of a smart glove that costs less than $1 has been created with the aim to aid clinicians during birth. The study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Global Women’s Health, engineered the device to help healthcare staff in finding the fetal position and the...

Study Finds Threatened Sharks Being Served In Fish Fillets

The ultimate British dish--fish and chips--have takers all over the world. However, the fish served in the dish might actually be an endangered shark species.A recent study, published in the journal Food Control, found shocking samples of endangered shark species in several fish filets served at more...

Coffee With Milk Has Strong Anti-Inflammatory Effect: Study

An ardent proponent of the benefits of black coffee? You might have to change allegiance, as a new study has found coffee with milk has synergistic properties that increase its anti-inflammatory effect.The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that the antioxidants from coffee combined...

All-Party Meet ahead of Budget Session held

STATE TIMES NEWS New Delhi: The government on...

This Is How Many Adult Americans Are Addicted To Junk Food

More older adults in the United States have become addicted to processed food, according to a recent University of Michigan poll. The school’s National Poll on Health Aging presented alarming findings in its January-February 2023 issue, saying that based on the latest data, 1 in 8 adults over...

Bengaluru colleges ban use of ChatGPT, the AI agent that writes assignments

At a time when the use of AI tools has grown exponentially, plagiarism is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for universities. RV University in Bengaluru has recently taken steps to curb the use of such tools, particularly ChatGPT, by banning it altogether. The move is supported by...