By Tank Murdoch @TheNatSent
(TNS) Thanks to theÂ last viral epidemic China gave to the world, scientists think they may have discovered a way to successfully treat victims of theÂ current pandemic involving COVID-19.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, researchers believe they have found coronavirus’ “Achilles heel” that may lead to faster treatment of victims and even a vaccine.
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The news site noted:
A study used anÂ antibody from a SARS survivor and tracked how it latched on to a specific area of the SARS virus in order to kill it.
The team atÂ Scripps Research then observed how the SARS antibody gripped on to the same spot on the COVID-19 coronavirus sample.Â
This spot of weakness couldÂ can be targeted with drugs and guide the development of a vaccine.
Now researchers are seeking former coronavirus patients who have recovered and are willing to donate blood to screen for antibodies.
Currently available tests are designed to find fragments of viral genes indicating an ongoing infection. Doctors swab the nose and throat, and amplify any genetic material from the virus found there.
The new test, by contrast, looks for protective antibodies in a finger prick of blood. It tells doctors whether a patient has ever been exposed to the virus and now may have some immunity.
What makes this important? Because if we find we have a population of previously infected, but now immune, people, they could be permitted to venture out from under lockdown and get back to work, thus jumpstarting the economy, which is moribund and dying.
Also, such testing could inform healthcare providers on the frontlines of the pandemic they, too, are immune.
More from the Daily Mail:
The scientistsÂ examined an antibody that had been taken from a SARS patient years ago. No cases of SARS have occurred since 2004.
The antibody taken from the SARS patient – called CR3022 – was isolated in 2006 by the pharmaceutical company Crucell Holland BV in the Netherlands.Â
SARS-CoV, which causes SARS, led to an epidemic in Asia in the early 2000s after jumping from a bat to humans in China. …
In experiments, the scientists in San Diego noticed the SARS antibody latched onto virtually the same spot on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as the SARS coronavirus.Â
The antibody did not grip the ‘SARS-CoV-2’ sample quite as hard as the SARS sample. But that doesn’t meat it won’t kill it.
The workÂ helped identify the spot as a possible weak point in the makeup of the virus.
“That high degree of similarity implies that the site has an important function that would be lost if it mutated significantly,” Scripps Research said in a statement.
The study’s lead author Dr. Ian Wilson told theÂ San Diego TribuneÂ that he described the area of the virus as a “possible Achilles heel.”
“We found that this region is usually hidden inside the virus, and only exposed when that part of the virus changes its structure, as it would in natural infection,” co-author Dr. Meng Yuan said.
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Wilson added: “The knowledge of conserved sites like this can aid in structure-based design of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2, and these would also protect against other coronaviruses â€” including those that may emerge in the future.”
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