Scientists continue to research new alternatives to combat SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease, and one of the most recent appears to have discovered one of its weak points that could help eliminate it. It is a novel alternative that could attack the proteins of the virus to render it inactive, thus preventing it from attaching itself to a new host and infecting it.
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In research published in the journal ACS Nano, scientists explain that the virus SARS-CoV-2 has a weakness that until now had gone unnoticed, but that could help combat it effectively. The explanation is a bit more technical, but in general terms we can understand it as follows:
The interaction between proteins and molecules in cells and viruses is reduced to a very simple law of electrostatics: opposite charges attract, while like charges repel. He SARS-CoV-2 has positive receptors that try to bind to the negative charges found in our cells, and when this link is successful, the virus can infect our system.
However scientists discovered that near the virus receptors there is a small region on their membrane that has a positive charge. This small region that spans just 10 nanometers was hidden in plain sight, and had been dismissed by other researchers as too far away. But the tests they conducted on this new work say otherwise.
The researchers tried blocking the positively charged region of the virus by adding a negatively charged molecule to its membrane, something that would prevent it from adhering to the cells of other living organisms. This method managed to reduce the strength of the bond with which SARS-CoV-2 attaches itself to cells by up to 34%, yielding promising results.
However, converting all this complicated process into a treatment to cure the disease does not seem very viable, because in addition to being very time consuming, it requires specialized equipment.