Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
Another discovery concerning Coronavirus infection, scientists have found a new drug which according to their claims could be useful in fighting aggravated immune response in respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. The therapeutic is called TAT CARMIL1 and is actually a combination of two naturally occurring small proteins or peptides.
According to the scientist when the two peptides are combined, they work together to penetrate a cell’s membrane in order to dampen an acute inflammatory response. In the study, it is found that the peptide reduced degradation of the protein called collagen by up to 43 percent. If deployed early enough, the scientists said, the peptide could reduce some of the worst damage caused by acute inflammatory responses.
Acute infections caused by the novel coronavirus can cause inflammatory responses known as “cytokine storms,” a term that has gained in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the body becomes overwhelmed by infections, such as those caused by influenza, H1N1, or COVID-19, it can release an unregulated flood of molecules called cytokines into the body.
Under infection-busting cytokines can cause severe damage in the body. Everything from holes in the lung tissue to vascular damage and blot clots, with the most acute cases causing death. According to the scientists, the peptide combines a segment of a naturally occurring protein, CARMIL1, with a peptide “vehicle,” TAT, that brings the CARMIL1 directly into the cell. They said this enables the CARMIL1 to calm the inflammatory storm.
The CARMIL peptide effectively blocks a family of cytokines, called interleukin1, from signalling and reproducing in vast quantities. The study gives the first indication of how these CARMIL proteins are involved with this pathway. Scientist said “The TAT CARMIL1 peptide targets two receptors, sticking to both the cell’s surface and its cell substrate, where it adheres to other cells.”
Since molecules designed to work in conjunction with this peptide would need to target cells at both receptors, they said it narrows the potential field of candidates from tens of thousands to hundreds. The research team hopes to track the peptide’s effectiveness and working mechanism further in lab studies.