Scientists find coronavirus ‘Achilles Heel’ – that could be targeted by drugs or vaccine – The Sun


SCIENTISTS have found the "Achilles Heel" of coronavirus that could be targeted by drugs or a vaccine.

While cases around the world have continued to sky-rocket, researchers in the US think they may have begun to crack the deadly virus.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Scripps Research in San Diego reported last week they had found a specific area of coronavirus which is much weaker, and could be targeted to treat patients.

Biologist on the research team, Ian Wilson said the spot is "a possible Achilles heel", according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. 

Mr Wilson made his discovery after examining an antibody taken from a SARS patient years ago.

He noticed it latched onto a specific place on the SARS virus and the same antibody attached to the same spot on COVID-19.

That spot could be a weak point in the makeup of the virus.

The SARS virus which infected nearly 8,000 people in China is closely related to COVID-19 currently spreading throughout the world.

One of the researchers, Meng Yuan said: "We found that this (spot) is usually hidden inside the virus, and only exposed when that part of the virus changes its structure, as it would in natural infection."

The research team are now looking for antibodies that grip on harder to the vulnerable area of the virus than the one from the SARS virus.

To do that they'll need survivors of COVID-19 who are happy to donate their blood, which could be screened for useful antibodies.

Humans have five basic types of antibodies – but scientists are looking for ones that are best suited to identify and neutralise the virus.

Scientists said the antibodies that people produce to fight the virus can become stronger over time, and so people who have been symptom free for a few weeks are crucial to the study.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus have now hit more than 1.2million worldwide, with 70,000 deaths.

Scientists around the world are racing to find treatment or a vaccine for the disease.

Trials for a new drug have already begun in Britain at 15 different NHS centres.


Don't miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.

To receive The Sun's Coronavirus newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.
To follow us on Facebook, simply 'Like' our Coronavirus page.
Get Britain's best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.

Source: Read Full Article