Scientists have discovered the “Achilles heel” of the coronavirus that could be targeted by drugs or a vaccine.
As cases around the world continue to soar, American researchers believe they may have started to eliminate the deadly virus.
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Researchers from Scripps Research in San Diego said they found a specific part of the virus, which is much weaker, and could be targeted to treat patients.
Research team biologist Ian Wilson said the place was “a possible Achilles heel,” according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Mr. Wilson made his discovery after examining an antibody taken from a patient with SARS years ago.
He noticed that the antibody attached to a specific part of the SARS virus.
And that same antibody attaches to the new coronavirus strain in the same place – known as SARS-Cov-2, because the two bugs are similar.
This place could be a weak point in the makeup of the virus – and could help scientists destroy the virus.
The SARS virus that has infected nearly 8,000 people in China is closely linked to the strain that causes Covid-19 disease worldwide.
One of the researchers, Meng Yuan, said, “We have found that this (spot) is usually hidden inside the virus and exposed only when this part of the virus changes its structure, as it would in a natural infection. . “
The research team is now looking for antibodies that adhere harder to the vulnerable area of the virus than that of the SARS virus.
To do this, they will need Covid-19 survivors who are happy to donate blood, which could be tested for useful antibodies.
Humans have five basic types of antibodies – but scientists are looking for the best ones to identify and neutralize the virus.
Scientists have said that the antibodies people produce to fight the virus may become stronger over time, and that people who have had no symptoms for a few weeks are crucial to the study.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has reached more than 1.2 million worldwide, with 70,000 deaths.
Scientists around the world are rushing to find a cure or vaccine for the disease.
Trials of a new drug have already started in Britain at 15 different NHS centers.
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