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How the protein in Covid-19 virus harms cardiac cells

How the protein in Covid-19 virus harms cardiac cells


According to a study, the virus that causes Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, contains a protein that harms heart cells.
According to study, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, contains a specific protein that damages heart cells. The medicine, according to researchers, works to mitigate the heart’s negative consequences caused by the protein.

On September 30, 2022, Communications Biology, a Nature publication, released their findings based on studies by the Center for Precision Disease Modeling at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) using fruit flies and mouse heart cells.

For at least a year following infection, COVID-19-infected individuals have a markedly increased risk of experiencing heart muscle inflammation, irregular heart rhythms, blood clots, stroke, heart attacks, and heart failure compared to uninfected individuals.

Vaccines and drugs to lower the severity of COVID-19 disease were quickly created by scientists, but these treatments do not shield the heart or other organs from the harm that even a slight infection might cause.

We must first comprehend the mechanism underlying what is causing the sickness in order to effectively treat patients in the long run. According to senior author Zhe Han, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Precision Disease Modeling at UMSOM, “Our research demonstrates that distinct SARS-CoV-2 proteins can each cause severe damage to specific organs in the body.

We can test drugs to see if any can undo this damage by identifying these processes of injury in each tissue. Those drugs that show promise can then be put through more testing in clinical research studies.

In experiments with fruit flies and human cells last year, Dr. Han and his research group discovered the SARS-CoV-2 proteins that are most harmful. One of these proteins, called Nsp6, was found to be less hazardous when treated with the promising medication selinexor, but not the other.

In their most recent investigation, they discovered that Nsp6 was the SARS-CoV-2 protein that caused the most damage to the fly heart. They then discovered that the Nsp6 protein commandeered the fruit fly’s heart cells to activate the glycolysis process, allowing cells to burn the sugar glucose for energy.

Heart cells typically use fatty acids as an energy source, but during heart failure, as these cells attempt to heal the damaged tissue, they convert to sugar metabolism.

Additionally, the Nsp6 protein disrupted the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell that uses sugar metabolism to make energy, the researchers discovered.

We assume SARS-CoV-2 behaves similarly to other viruses that alter an animal’s metabolism in order to steal the cell’s energy source by hijacking the animal’s cell machinery. The leftovers of sugar metabolism can be used by viruses as a building block to create new viruses “Dr. Han added.

“As a result, we anticipate that this medication, which restores the metabolism of the heart to its pre-infection state, will harm the virus by depriving it of energy and the components necessary for replication.

Fortunately, 2DG is affordable and frequently employed in laboratory research, according to the researchers. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved 2DG to treat disease, the medication is currently being tested in India’s clinical trials for COVID-19.

We need to understand the underlying causes of why too many Americans who have recovered from COVID develop risky heart conditions weeks or months later, according to Mark T. Gladwin, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs at University of Maryland, Baltimore, and John Z. and Akiko K.

Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, UMSOM. We can improve the medicines we target for future study with the ultimate goal of correcting further cardiac damage in these individuals thanks to this research that clarifies the pathways of the Nsp6 protein.

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