Researchers led by Indian-origin scientist identify genes that fight virus causing Covid-19

Researchers led by Indian-origin scientist identify genes that fight virus causing Covid-19
WASHINGTON: American researchers led by a scientist of Indian descent have identified a set of human genes that fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, a study that could help understand the factors that affect the severity of affect the disease and possible therapeutic options.
The study by scientists at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, California was published in the journal Molecular Cell.
The genes in question are related to interferons, the body's first virus fighters.
"We wanted to gain a better understanding of the cellular response to SARS-CoV-2, including what drives a strong or weak response to infection," said Sumit K. Chanda, professor and director of the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys. and lead author of the study.
"We have gained new insights into how the virus exploits the human cells it invades, but we are still looking for its Achilles heel so that we can develop optimal antivirals," he said.
Knowing which genes help control viral infections can greatly aid researchers' understanding of factors influencing disease severity and may also suggest potential therapeutic options, the institute said in a press release.
Shortly after the onset of the pandemic, clinicians found that a weak interferon response to SARS-CoV-2 infection resulted in some of the more severe cases of Covid-19.
This knowledge led Chanda and his colleagues to search for the human genes activated by interferons, known as interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), that work to limit SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Based on knowledge obtained from SARS-CoV-1, the virus that caused a deadly, but relatively short, outbreak of disease from 2002 to 2004, and knowing it was similar to SARS-CoV-2, the researchers were able to develop laboratory tests. experiments to identify the ISGs that control viral replication in Covid-19, the statement said.
"We found that 65 ISGs controlled SARS-CoV-2 infection, including some that inhibited the virus's ability to enter cells, some that suppressed the production of the RNA (ribonucleic acid) that the virus is, and a cluster of genes, that collection of the virus, "Chanda said.
"Also of great importance was the fact that some ISGs showed control over unrelated viruses, such as seasonal influenza, West Nile and HIV, that lead to AIDS."
As a next step, the researchers will look at the biology of SARS-CoV-2 variants that continue to evolve and threaten vaccine efficacy.
The total global Covid-19 caseload has risen to 139.6 million, while the death toll has risen to over 2.99 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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