• Mon. Oct 25th, 2021

Covid, “so the virus is blocked in the cells”

Byeditorial

May 18, 2021

A natural compound, Indole 3 Carbinol (I3C), has been shown in the laboratory to be able to block Covid-19 inside the infected cell, preventing it from contaminating other cells within the body. The discovery, the result of an international research coordinated by Giuseppe Novelli, ordinary geneticist of medical genetics at the University of Tor Vergata and Pier Paolo Pandolfi, professor of molecular biotechnology at the University of Turin, to find application, must now follow its path up to become a drug. How did we come to understand how to ‘imprison’ Covid in the contaminated cell? “Once the virus has entered – explains Novelli to Adnkronos Salute – it tries to do the most important thing for it: copies of itself and then get out of the cells. The problem is: how does it get out? The virus has no Its own ‘machines’ but it uses ours. We – explains the researcher – have started to study what means it uses to exit the cell and infect other cells. Ebola. Ebola is an RNA virus like Sars-Cov2, for this reason we hypothesized that it could use the same enzymes as a ‘machine’. We went to check and we had confirmation. Once we established which ‘machine’ Covid uses this had to be blocked “.” Fortunately – adds Novelli – we already knew this ‘machine’ because we were working on it to study cancer. Precisely because we had this experience on tumors, we also had a product we were already working on, which it is known to be an inhibitor, which is something that blocks these enzymes. Consequently – continues the research coordinator – we immediately tried experimentally to see if it could also prevent Covid from escaping from the cell. And we have seen with the test tube cells infected with the virus, that if you put this compound in it the virus does not come out, it gets trapped. Now – he clarifies – this compound must become a drug “. It will take time to pass from discovery to application on Covid patients.” I would be delighted if tomorrow morning I could give the drug to the sick – says Novelli – but the experimentation has its own time. and its phases to be respected “. So, he reiterates,” now the first thing is to obtain the drug in an appropriate chemical preparation, for clinical use “. For this reason, at the moment” we are in negotiations with 4 pharmaceutical companies, two Italian and two abroad, which we are evaluating “.” Of course, we are also finding sponsors to do this because – recalls the geneticist – a lot of money is needed. We are asking for funding from national and international public and private bodies. Then – he adds – there is the question of intellectual property, of patents that the technology transfer offices of the universities work on. And finally, it will take the authorizations of the EMA and AIFA “. In short” normally it takes 15 years to make a drug. I understand – emphasizes the scientist – that we are well used to it because in a year a ‘miracle’ was made with vaccines but on average it takes 10 years for a vaccine “. And anyway, he highlights,” we still don’t even have a specific and effective antiviral against Covid-19. But that’s normal, because detecting antivirals is more complicated. We must keep in mind – he explains – that the virus does not have an autonomous life like a bacterium, it is an information molecule that our cells use. There are 500 antivirals currently being studied on Covid. And the reason why there are these times is that an antiviral is different from a vaccine: it is a drug that acts against human proteins, while the vaccine is a cell trainer that only gives information. “

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