Yunjeong Kim and Kyeong-Ok “KC” Chang, virologists in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, have published a study showing a possible therapeutic treatment for COVID-19.
Pathogenic coronaviruses are a major threat to global public health, as shown by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or SARS-CoV; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, known as MERS-CoV; and the newly emerged SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection.
The study, “3C-like protease inhibitors block coronavirus replication in vitro and improve survival in MERS-CoV-infected mice,” appears in the Aug. 3 issue of the prestigious medical journal Science Translational Medicine. It reveals how small molecule protease inhibitors show potency against human coronaviruses. These coronavirus 3C-like proteases, known as 3CLpro, are strong therapeutic targets because they play vital roles in coronavirus replication.
“Vaccine developments and treatments are the biggest targets in COVID-19 research, and treatment is really key,” said Chang, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. “This paper describes protease inhibitors targeting coronavirus 3CLpro, which is a well-known therapeutic target.”
The study demonstrates that this series of optimized coronavirus 3CLpro inhibitors blocked replication of the human coronaviruses MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in cultured cells and in a mouse model for MERS. These findings suggest that this series of compounds should be investigated further as a potential therapeutic for human coronavirus infection.
Read more at Kansas State University
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