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RPI research team working on way to stop coronavirus

Benita Zahn & WNYT Staff
Created: March 18, 2020 04:27 PM

By now we're all familiar with what the coronavirus looks like under the microscope, but how does the virus work to transmit disease?

"They're like little balls, and on the surface of those balls, we have these proteins that protrude. They're called spikes because they look like spikes, and those spikes actually bind to proteins on the human cell," said Professor Jonathan Dordick.

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So what if there was a way to interfere with that binding process? That's what Dordick and his team at RPI are working on.

"You'd basically block the ability of the virus from actually getting into the cell and that eliminates the infection," said Dordick.

They’ve already shown this can work to block infection from certain influenza viruses and the dengue virus.

Now their attention is on the coronavirus causing the current outbreak.

"What we're looking at, is can we develop a DNA that would essentially catch the virus, because it latches onto the fingerprint that the virus has," explained Dordick.

While the work is exciting - Dordick expects a vaccine to be available before his virus catcher makes it to the market. There’s just so many steps yet to be completed and testing hurdles to clear.

However, he figures the virus catcher would be ready in the event we are hit with another viral pandemic - something experts fully expect will happen down the road.


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