Researchers demonstrate success with new therapy for Covid

by IANS |

New York, Jan 20 (IANS) A new therapy developed by researchers is showing success as a way to prevent Covid-19 disease.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, showed that mouse models with Covid-19 showed positive results when a small peptide was introduced nasally.

The peptide proved effective in reducing fever, protecting the lungs, improving heart function and reversing cytokine storm -- a condition in which an infection triggers the immune system to flood the bloodstream with inflammatory proteins.

"This could be a new approach to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and protect Covid-19 patients from breathing problems and cardiac issues," said researcher Kalipada Pahan, Professor at Rush University in the US.

"Understanding the mechanism is proving important to developing effective therapies for Covid-19," Pahan added.

Many Covid-19 patients in the ICU suffer from cytokine storm that affects lungs, heart and other organs.

Although anti-inflammatory therapies such as steroids are available, very often these treatments cause immunosuppression.

"Since SARS-CoV-2 binds to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) for entering into the cells, we have designed a hexapeptide corresponding to the ACE2-interacting domain of SARS-CoV-2 (AIDS) to inhibit the binding of virus with ACE-2," Pahan said.

"AIDS peptide inhibits cytokines produced by only SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, not other inflammatory stimuli, indicating that AIDS peptide would not cause immunosuppression. We found that after intranasal treatment, AIDS peptide reduces fever, protects lungs, normalises heart function, and enhances locomotor activities in a mouse model of Covid-19," Pahan added.

Although vaccine is available, Covid-19 could potentially morph into a seasonal and an opportunistic event, the researchers said.

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