SARS-CoV-2 May Use Key Carbohydrate to Infect Cells

SARS-CoV-2 May Use Key Carbohydrate to Infect Cells

At A Glance:

  • Researchers found that a carbohydrate called heparan sulfate, which is found on cell surfaces, may play a critical role in the novel coronavirus’ ability to infect cells.
  • The findings suggest that the anti-clotting drug heparin may have potential to help combat coronavirus infections.

“More than one million people have died worldwide from SARS-CoV-2 infection, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Researchers are racing to develop ways to treat and prevent new infections. Many of these treatments focus on blocking the virus’ ability to latch onto and infect cells in the body.

SARS-CoV-2 attaches to cells using its spike protein. This protein binds to the ACE2 receptor, a molecule that sits on the surface of human cells. After binding to ACE2, the virus undergoes a structural change that allows it to fuse with the cell. Once inside, the virus is able to reproduce.”

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October 7, 2020
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