A decoy molecule fools coronavirus by attracting it before it can attach to lung cells. The researchers said the aim is to deliver the decoy product by inhaler, so there is no risk to healthcare workers or the patient's family. The coronavirus enters the lungs through droplets. The proposed decoy would stop the virus from binding to the human cells.
The scientists want to make a purified receptor that most spikes of the virus will bind to instead of binding to the actual receptor attached to sensitive human cells.
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Once the virus is 'coated' with the fake receptors, it is then eliminated by phlegm just like any other particles such as dust and bacteria. Phlegm is a type of mucus produced in the lungs and lower respiratory tract.
Scientists hope that the decoys will reduce the amount of the coronavirus that makes it through the respiratory tract and attaches to the human cells.
The team started working on the project in mid-March 2020. The intention is to prepare an approved product ready to use in about 2 months. The researchers said that they are hoping this strategy will be successful.
Severe COVID-19 cases will instead only have milder forms of infection. The proposed solution will also reduce the mortality rate among COVID-19 infections and free up precious intensive-care unit beds and equipment.
The purified receptor agent could be used in milder cases to ease and shorten the duration of infection. It will also limit the spread of COVID-19 in communities where the transmission rates are very high. It could also use on family members or caregivers exposed to the virus as it will reduce their risk of catching the infection. The research team said that this is a non-profit project and that the results will be freely available for others to use.
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