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Jagiellonian University researchers contribute to developing an effective anticoronaviral

Jagiellonian University researchers contribute to developing an effective anticoronaviral

Scientists from the JU Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology (team led by Prof. Krzysztof Pyrć and Dr Aleksandra Milewska) and the JU Faculty of Chemistry (team led by Prof. Maria Nowakowska and Prof. Krzysztof Szczubiałka) have taken part in studies which resulted in the development of HTCCs as broad-range inhibitors of coronaviral entry. Recent research has shown that these substances are effective against SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV in vitro and ex vivo.

The studies were conducted not only with the use of the standard cell model, but also an advanced modelling system fully emulating the epithelium found in the human respiratory system. It is one of the best models that allows to analyse the mechanisms of infection in the human body.

The researchers have shown that using the HTCC compound (N-(2-hydroxypropyl)-3-trimethylammonium chitosan chloride) is successful in inhibiting coronavirus infection. The polymer binds to the Spike protein that forms the ‘crown’ of the virus, effectively preventing it from affecting the cell receptors and, consequently, invading the cell itself.

Although the results are promising, using HTCC to treat humans is still a long way away. However, tests on rodents have shown that it is neither toxic, nor does it damage the lungs. The research team is confident that it is the first step to developing a cure.

The prospects of using HTCC against coronaviruses have been discussed in the recent article HTCC as a highly effective polymeric inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV

The JU scientists have developed these broad range anticoronavirals together with researchers from the University of Gdańsk, the Silesian Centre for Heart Diseases, as well as research teams from China.

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