Recently, a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the US created a nasal spray that could block the coronavirus from entering the lungs and causing infection.
Why in News?
- Researchers have created thin, thread-like strands of molecules called supramolecular filaments capable of blocking the virus in its tracks.
- The key to this approach is the way that the filaments carry a receptor called angiotensin converting enzyme-2, or ACE2.
- ACE2 provides the entry point for the coronavirus to hook into and infect a wide range of human cells.
- The team's newly developed filament, called fACE2, serves as a decoy binding site for the virus, with each filament offering several receptors for the COVID-19 spike protein to attach to, and silences ACE2's biological functions to avoid potential side effects
What is ACE2:
- It is a protein on the surface of many cell types and tissues including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract.
- It is an enzyme that generates small proteins – by cutting up the larger protein angiotensinogen – that then go on to regulate functions in the cell.
- ACE2 is present in all people but the quantity can vary among individuals and in different tissues and cells.
- It is present in epithelial cells, which line certain tissues and create protective barriers.
- ACE2 is a vital element in a biochemical pathway that is critical to regulating processes such as blood pressure, wound healing and inflammation, called the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) pathway.
- ACE2 helps modulate the many activities of a protein called angiotensin II (ANG II) that increases blood pressure and inflammation, increasing damage to blood vessel linings and various types of tissue injury.
Q1) What are epithelial cells?
They are a type of cell that covers the inside and outside of the surfaces of your body. They are found on your skin, blood vessels, and organs, including your urinary tract.