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Breaking COVID-19's 'Clutch' to Stop Its Spread

Phys.org

Photo: Scott Wiseman for Scripps Research

Phys.org

Scripps Research chemist Matthew Disney, Ph.D., and colleagues have created drug-like compounds that, in human cell studies, bind and destroy the pandemic coronavirus' so-called "frameshifting element" to stop the virus from replicating. The frameshifter is a clutch-like device the virus needs to generate new copies of itself after infecting cells.

"Our concept was to develop lead medicines capable of breaking COVID-19's clutch," Disney says. "It doesn't allow the shifting of gears."

Viruses spread by entering cells and then using the cells' protein-building machinery to churn out new infectious copies ...