The researchers created a kind of library, with several types of lecithins (proteins of non-immunological origin) and two types were found capable of binding to the glycans of protein S (Spike). This manages to block Spike and prevent coronavirus in the Human Body.
Protein S and Covid-19
“Our idea is to take advantage of this property to develop a drug to combat covid-19. Lectins would occupy nerve sites directly in protein S and, thus, interrupt the pathogen's binding to cells. Since the door would be blocked, because the key is clogged with lectins, ”explained Josef Penninger, one of the study's leaders.
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In addition, the researchers are confident that the protein method can also work against Covid-19 variants. “We now have tools at our disposal that can turn on the virus's protective layer and thus block the virus from entering cells. In addition, these points are common in all circulating variants of the virus, so it can be the Achilles heel of SARS-CoV-2, ”said Stefan Mereiter, of the University of Vienna.
Until then, no other means of binding to protein S had been found to prevent infection by Covid-19. The analyzed models showed Spike quite closed. “We saw that it really opens up on the surfaces and that the three arms are dynamic. Lectins, on the other hand, have been able to attach themselves to the structure for a long time on a biological scale, ”said Peter Hinterdorfer, from the University of Linz.
The video below shows the action of lectins on protein S.