Nevan Krogan, the director of the Quantitative Biosciences Institute at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has been working since January on finding what human proteins the novel coronavirus uses to reproduce, and what drugs act as a shield.
“We carried this out systematically like we’ve done many times over the last several years, looking at different viruses. Normally that takes a couple years; we did this in a couple weeks,” Krogan said.
A graduate of the University of Regina, Krogan and his team have identified 332 different human proteins that they think the virus needs in order to infect human cells.
Using this protein road map, Krogan’s team is able to make predictions of what FDA-approved drugs are known to combine with these proteins.
“We feel like this is a data driven prioritization of what to look at with respect to drugs and compounds,” said Krogan, who hasidentified 69 possibilities.
The map has been sent to labs around the world that have access to the virus to begin testing.
Krogan explains that the global collaboration happening between scientists is rarely seen, and is a testament to the efforts taking place around the word to stop the spread of this virus.
He calls this communication the silver lining, “I hope that the infrastructure we are setting up now, will hold up in the future once the dust settles on COVID-19.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers across Canada are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. In Saskatchewan, international travellers are already required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the province.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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