Scripps Research reported that it may have found what it is calling the “Achilles Heel” of the COVID-19 virus.
The findings from this group headed by Ian Wilson, DPhil*, a Biologist was published Friday, April 3, 2020, in the Journal of Science.
Essentially, the finding of Dr. Wilson’s team is that during the mutation process, there is a location within the virus strain that is vulnerable to an antibody taken from the blood of a SARS patient years earlier. This SARS antibody attaches to the COVID-19 virus. As Dr. Wilson points out, the race is to determine how to make sure the antibody is provided before the virus mutates again.
There are approximately 35 companies that are trying to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Another company is Boston, MA based which announced that they will begin human trials “imminently.”
The US is operating a top speed due to the cooperation of the Chinese government which shared the genetic sequencing of the COVI-19 virus in early January. This allowed research teams to grow the live virus and study how it attacks human cells. Research on how to develop vaccines against coronaviruses generally have been on-going which has also been helpful in giving us a jump-start. Both SARS and MERS are coronaviruses. Companies that have developed vaccine against these in the past are now retooling their efforts to focus on the COVID-19 virus.
In the meantime, each of us need to be mindful of the threat that a coronavirus presents. Keep your hands washed, avoid contact with others, and supplement your diet with good anti-oxidant vitamins and CBD oil. A healthy Immune System is vital to ward of any virus.
* Hansen Professor of Structural Biology, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
Chairman, Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology