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Study discovers compounds that protect lung cells, may block COVID virus

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Washington | June 20, 2021 1:14:33 AM IST
Elovanoids, the bioactive chemical messengers made from omega-3 very-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, may block the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering cells and protect the air cells (alveoli) of the lung.

The findings of the research conducted at Louisiana State University Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

"Because the compounds are protective against damage in the brain and retina of the eye and the COVID-19 virus clearly damages the lung, the experiment tested if the compounds would also protect the lung," noted Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Director of the LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center, and senior author of the paper.

The research team tested Elovanoids (ELVs) on infected lung tissue from a 78-year-old man in petri dish cultures. They found that ELVs not only reduced the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to bind to receptors and enter cells, but they also triggered the production of protective, anti-inflammatory proteins that counteract lung damage.

The scientists report that ELVs decreased the production of ACE2. ACE2 is a protein on the surface of many cell types. ACE2 receptors act like locks on cells, and the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins act like keys that open the locks letting the virus enter cells to multiply rapidly. They also demonstrated for the first time that alveolar cells are endowed with pathways for the biosynthesis of ELVs.

"Since SARS-CoV-2 affects nasal mucosa, the GI tract, the eye, and the nervous system, uncovering the protective potential of ELVs expands the scope of our observations beyond the lung. Our results provide a foundation for interventions to modify disease risk, progression, and protection of the lung from COVID-19 or other pathologies (including some types of pneumonia)," added Dr Bazan. (ANI)

 
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