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University of Louisville researchers have developed a technology that is believed to block the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 from infecting human cells.
The technology is based on a piece of synthetic DNA – an “aptamer” – which targets and binds with a human protein called nucleolin. Early tests show that this aptamer may stop viruses, including novel coronavirus, from “hijacking” nucleolin to replicate inside the body.
UofL is seeking to fast-track development, including application to the Food and Drug Administration for approval to start treating patients seriously affected with COVID-19.
The aptamer was discovered by UofL’s Paula Bates, John Trent and Don Miller, who have applied it in a variety of ways, most notably as a potential therapeutic drug against multiple types of cancer.