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Covid-19: Study Finds New Drug Target to Treat Every Coronavirus Variant

The scientists say that the aim is not only to save people from Covid-19 infection but to also stop the new variants of the virus from creating a new outbreak. "There is great need for new approaches to drug discovery to combat the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic and infections from future coronaviruses," said Karla Satchell, professor of microbiology-immunology at Feinberg School of Medicine.

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Scientist have identified a new drug target that may be capable of neutralising a pocket of protein in Covid-19 thus treating the disease in the early stages of infection (PTI Photo)

Wahington: Researchers at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, United States have identified a new novel target for a drug that can tackle treat Covid-19 and also prevent a future pandemic outbreak. They say that the key was to develop a new drug that could work against the virus within three-four days of the infection in order to prevent a person from getting seriously ill.

“God forbid we need this, but we will be ready,” said Karla Satchell, professor of microbiology-immunology at Feinberg School of Medicine.

The study of the team were published in the journal Science Signaling and provides key information on the development of a drug that could help a person recover from the virus.

The team has been able to discover a secret identifier in the Covid-19 virus that helps it to hide from the immune system after mapping three new protein structures.

They found that a protein named nsp16, was bonded in a place by a metal ion.

This fragment helps the coronavirus as the template for all the viral building blocks.

Researchers say that after this key information there was a potential that a drug could be made that target this specific invader protein 

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They also identified that this protein was present in all the coronaviruses which means that a drug that can neutralise it will be effective against all future mutations and will act as a barrier during future outbreaks.

Nsp16 is considered one of the key viral proteins that could be inhibited by drugs to stop the virus shortly after a person gets exposed.

The team is now working with chemists all around the world in order to generate this new drug.

The researchers envision any drug developed based on the team’s finding of the coronavirus pocket would be part of a treatment cocktail taken by patients early in the course of the disease.

That could include drugs similar to Remdesivir that prevent the virus from producing the template for the building blocks that are necessary for it to replicate itself, they added.

With inputs from PTI