SARS-CoV-2 Protein Interaction Map Reveals Drug Targets

May 12, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 4-5 minutes

Today’s Lab.Equipment Bio Technology news is sourced from GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News:

A global team based out of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has developed a new paradigm in COVID-19 drug development by focusing on the host as well as the virus. The researchers created a blueprint of how SARS-CoV-2 hijacks and rewires the host during the course of infection by mapping the protein-protein interactions (PPIs) between the host and virus that can be targeted. Using this blueprint to identify a series of drugs and compounds to test, they identified key drug classes with high potential to fight COVID-19—some of which are now being entered into clinical trials. They also identified one compound commonly found in over-the-counter cough syrup that, surprisingly, helped the virus infect cells better.

The work is published in Nature in a paper titled, “A SARS-CoV-2 protein interaction map reveals targets for drug repurposing.”

The advantage of creating this type of blueprint, noted Nevan Krogan, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology, director of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute (QBI) at UCSF, and senior author on the paper, is that it leads with the biology. Having the information of the PPIs helped point the team in specific directions where they may find useful drugs and compounds. They did not have to look at 10s or 1000s of different compounds, noted Krogan. Instead, because the map identified a subset of compounds, they knew where to start and could quickly move into robust, quantitative assays.

Other advantages are fewer concerns about the virus developing resistance to the drug. And, they can develop pan-pathogenic strategies. Toxicity can be an issue, but that is why they are focusing on repurposing drugs—those already FDA approved or those in clinical trials that have passed toxicity checkpoints.

How did they generate the map? They first studied 26 of the 29 SARS-CoV-2 proteins in isolation. The SARS-CoV-2... More of this in the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) Blog.

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