Inhibition Strategies to Reduce Coronavirus Entry Into Host

model of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Viral Spike protein bound to its primary receptor, ACE2 (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2). Model developed by Prof. Sheldon Park, CBE.

The Neelamegham lab is developing molecular strategies to inhibit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The spike protein of this virus has several carbohydrates or glycans attached to it (see Figure). Like many research laboratories that have turned all available resources to address this global crisis, researchers in the CBE Neelamegham laboratory have been studying the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The overarching goal is to identify weaknesses in viral binding, entry, and replication that can be exploited for therapeutic benefit. Their studies have revealed that glycan epitopes expressed on the virus may serve as novel druggable targets. They observed that modifying carbohydrate epitopes using both genetic approaches and small molecules may enable fine-tuning of viral entry into host cells. The small molecule inhibitors they are evaluating represent potential drugs that could be used to ameliorate COVID-19 and also other viral infections. The lab group is seeking funding to continue this effort.