Florida researchers identify potential target to battle COVID-19

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Scientists at Cleveland Clinic’s Florida Research and Innovation Center are uncovering ways COVID-19 suppresses the natural human immune response.

“And we found that one of the enzymes of the virus called PLpro can antagonize one of the so-called viral sensor proteins that we have in our cells, and this sensor typically detects the virus, but the virus can essentially deactivate this sensor and thereby kind of evade the human immune response,” said Dr. Michaela Gack, Scientific Director of the center.

Gack said the next phase of the study will look into ways of strengthening the human immune response against COVID-19, potentially leading to new approaches for battling the virus.

And an international team of researchers has found that three commonly used antiviral and antimalarial drugs are potentially effective against the novel coronavirus.

The three compounds were tested on animal and human cell lines in a laboratory.

Researchers found the human derived cell lines were similar in effectiveness to Remdesvir, which is currently being used to treat COVID-19.

The next steps for researchers included testing the compounds in mouse models and gaining further understanding on how to keep the virus from reproducing itself.

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