Why hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine don't block coronavirus infection of human lung cells by Katherine Seley-Radtke, 8/8/20

hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine

In order for the virus to enter a cell, it can do so by two mechanisms – one, when the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein attaches to the ACE2 receptor and inserts its genetic material into the cell. In the second mechanism, the virus is absorbed into some special compartments in cells called endosomes.

Depending on the cell type, some, like kidney cells, need an enzyme called cathepsin L for the virus to successfully infect them. In lung cells, however, an enzyme called TMPRSS2 (on the cell surface) is necessary. Cathepsin L requires an acidic environment to function and allow the virus to infect the cell, while TMPRSS2 does not.

In short, those of us involved in antiviral drug development should all take a lesson from this study. It is important not only to focus our efforts on pursuing drugs that will directly shut down viral replication, but also to study the virus in the primary site of infection.

An infectious disease expert explains the results from Moderna's latest vaccine trials by Sanjay Mishra for the Conversation, 7/18/20

Vaccine, Coronavirus

Photo Credit: UN WHO

Can you explain what the company's mRNA vaccine is and why it is different?

Vaccines are meant to train the immune system to attack the disease-causing virus. In the case of SARS–CoV–2, there is a spike protein, or the S-protein, which is the flag that the immune system needs to recognize as the signature of the virus. So the goal of a vaccine is to train your immune system to recognize the S–protein, and then trigger the immune response. This S–protein is the standard in all coronaviruses, that’s why they’re called coronaviruses, because the “ corona” is the crown.

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