Collaborative Research Shows HIV Drug Promising as Possible Coronavirus Treatment
The work revealed that Viracept inhibited the ability of a key protein of the virus, the Spike Glycoprotein that protrudes from the surface of the virus and is also found on the surface of infected cells, to facilitate membrane fusion of adjacent cells. Membrane fusion is crucial for virus entry into cells and spread of the virus from one cell to adjacent cells escaping the extracellular spaces and neutralizing antibodies. Viracept was able to inhibit membrane fusion at levels that are typically used in human patients to combat HIV infections.
Molecular modeling by Professor of Pharmacy Seetharama D. Jois and graduate student Achyut Dahal, both with the University of Louisiana Monroe College of Pharmacy, showed that Viracept may directly bind to the viral S glycoprotein. These results strongly suggest that Viracept should be investigated for its ability to prevent virus spread, especially during early stages of SARS-2 CoV infections. Also contributing to this work with Kousoulas are LSU colleagues Vladimir Chouljenko, Farhana Musarrat and Rafiq Nabi.
The University of Louisiana Monroe is a member institution of the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research, an NIH:NIGMS INBRE program. LSU's INBRE, named the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, or LBRN, was established in September 2001 with a $18.5 million grant matched by a $1.2 million supplement from the Board of Regents. This grant has been renewed every five years since 2001. LBRN provides infrastructure support, education, training and research opportunities for students and faculty and fosters connections between primarily undergraduate institutions and biomedical research intensive universities and institutes within the state. Kousoulas is the principal investigator for LSU's LBRN.
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The anti-HIV Drug Nelfinavir Mesylate (Viracept) is a Potent Inhibitor of Cell Fusion Caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) Glycoprotein Warranting further Evaluation as an Antiviral against COVID-19 infections: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.24.060376.
[VIDEO]: LSU Scientists Discover Potential COVID-19 Treatment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fQ6PrT3hXQ&feature=youtu.be
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