University: research team has developed “revolutionary technology” that could prevent the coronavirus from infecting human cells

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A team of researchers from the University of Louisville said they have developed technology that could prevent the COVID-19 virus from infecting human cells by blocking its ability to replicate inside the body.

The researchers’ findings were reported on Wednesday by Baylee Pulliam of the University of Louisville, UofL News, which covers research and innovation at the university. “Revolutionary technology,” writes Pulliam, “is supposed to prevent the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from infecting human cells.”

“The technology is based on a piece of synthetic DNA – an” aptamer “- that targets and binds to a human protein called nucleolin,” says Pulliam. “Initial tests show that this aptamer can prevent viruses, including new coronaviruses, from” diverting “nucleolin to replicate inside the body. “

Due to promising results from its first tests, the university is seeking to “accelerate development, including the application to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to begin treating patients severely affected by COVID-19,” writes Pulliam .

Paula Bates of the University of Louisville, John Trent and Don Miller have applied aptamer in several ways, says Pulliam, including as a potential therapeutic drug for certain types of cancer.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Bates, professor of medicine, teamed up with Kenneth Palmer, director of the university’s Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CPM), to see how synthetic DNA would affect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“I am fortunate to be at UofL, which is one of the few places in the country where we have the facilities to experiment with the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” said Bates. The university, Pulliam reports, is home to the Regional Biological Containment Laboratory, which is one of the country’s two national biological containment laboratories.

Palmer has been able to demonstrate through experiments that the aptamer “is effective against the virus in doses that previous research has shown to be safe in the patient,” writes Pulliam.

In addition to helping test the aptamer as a potential treatment for COVID-19, Palmer is also working on Q-Griffithsin, another potential treatment. (Read the full UofL News report here.)

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