Scientists, including those of Indian-origin, have resolved the structure of a molecule which the novel coronavirus uses to make its genetic sequence seem like a part of the host’s own, an advance that may lead to the development of new antiviral drugs against Covid-19.
According to the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, the molecule nsp10 modifies the viral mRNAs (which are blueprints for producing proteins) to mimic host cell’s own mRNAs. The researchers from the The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) in the US said by enabling this modification, nsp10 protects the virus from host cell immune response.
“It’s a camouflage. Because of the modifications, which fool the cell, the resulting viral messenger RNA is now considered as part of the cell’s own code and not foreign,” said Yogesh Gupta, a co-author of the study from UT