Scientists find Covid-19 weakness which could be beaten with small molecule anti-viral drugs

“The question now is how to turn this new knowledge against the virus itself and defeat the pandemic”

A weakness has been detected in Covid-19’s protein spike which means the strain could be injected with antiviral drugs to stop it working, scientists revealed.

An international team from Bristol University believe they have found a “druggable” pocket within a Sars-CoV-2 sample which could be a potential pandemic “game-changer”.

The scientists hope the discovery could lead to small molecule, anti-viral medicines being developed to shut down and eliminate the virus before it enters human cells.

The study, which used insects cells, was published in the Science journal, with researchers saying the new knowledge, if applied correctly, could help defeat coronavirus.

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The researchers found a small molecule, Linoleic acid (LA), buried in a tailor-made pocket within the spike protein which is located on the surface of the virus.

LA is a free fatty acid, which is needed for many cellular functions and cannot be produced by the human body. It also plays a vital role in inflammation and immunity levels, and it is needed to maintain cell membranes in the lungs to help people breathe properly.

Read more: Evening Standard