COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Scientists at Ohio State University have found a way to trick COVID-19, and it could lead to a nasal spray that would block the virus’s ability to invade cells.
Scientists have developed protein fragments – called peptides – that fit snugly into a groove on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, according to a release from OSU.
These peptides effectively trick the virus into “shaking hands” with a replica rather than with the actual protein on a cell’s surface that lets the virus in.
“Our goal is that any time SARS-CoV-2 comes into contact with the peptides, the virus will be inactivated,” said Amit Sharma, co-lead author of the study and assistant professor of veterinary biosciences at Ohio State. “To do this, we have to get to the virus while it’s still outside the cell.”
The Ohio State team envisions delivering these manufactured peptides in a nasal spray or aerosol surface disinfectant, among other applications, to block circulating SARS-CoV-2 access points with an agent that prevents their entry into target cells, the press release said.
Sharma described these findings as the beginning of a product-development process that will be continued by the team of virologists and pharmaceutical chemists collaborating on this work.
“The goal is to neutralize the virus effectively and potently, and now, because of the emergence of variants, we’re interested in assessing our technology against the emerging mutations,” said Sharma.
The study is published in the January issue of the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry.