A study published on Monday revealed that the cells have structures that function as highways to carry substances and that can be used by viruses if there is infection, but a new drug could inhibit that transport, the agency said. Lusa.
The study involving the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) of Spain, published by Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), identified a new pharmacological form in tubulin, a protein that is part of the structures that transport substances in cells, called microtubules.
The discovery of a new pharmacological form in the protein that is part of those transport routes can contribute to the development of drugs.
This identification, based on a new compound of natural origin of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), “can contribute to the development of drugs for the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and emerging viral infections”, explained the CSIC in a statement .
Microtubules are intracellular structures that function as cellular pathways for the transport of substances, vesicles and even viruses, in case a cell is infected. “The researchers believe that the pharmacological destabilization of the microtubules would help to prevent generation of viral factories in the cell ”, it reads in the document.
The work, in which the Center for Biological Research Margarita Salas (CIB-CSIC) and the Center for Natural Products, Discovery and Development of Medicines in Florida (USA) participated, includes the procedure for characterizing a natural product, obtained from cyanobacteria, which prevents the activation of tubulin.
“As the protein is inactivated, microtubules cannot form either, intracellular transport is blocked and, most importantly, chromosome separation is prevented during cell division,” explained CIB-CSIC researcher Marian Oliva, one of authors of the study.
Tubulin, a protein that is part of microtubules, is one of the most successful targets for the discovery of drugs against viral diseases, neurological or cancer. So far, six sites have been identified that promote the stabilization or disassembly of microtubules, to which is added the one now located through this investigation.
Each pharmacological target within the tubulin modifies its functioning differently. “Finding a new target implies having a new range of possibilities, with the option of being able to find drugs that, without being toxic, are effective in treating diseases”, concluded Oliva.
One dose reduces the risk of hospitalization by up to 94%
Researchers analyzed hospitalizations in Scottish hospitals, comparing people who had already taken the first dose and those who had not yet been vaccinated, concluding that there was an 85% to 94% reduction in the need for hospital care in those who had already received the first dose of AstraZeneca or Pfizer, wrote the Sky News.
“Those results are very encouraging and give us good reasons to be optimistic about the future ”, said Aziz Sheikh, the scientific coordinator of the study, not yet peer reviewed.
“We now have national evidence – across the country – that vaccination offers protection against hospitalizations for covid-19,” he added.
Loss of smell and taste can last up to five months
The loss of sense of smell and taste can last up to five months after covid-19 infection, according to a preliminary study made public this Tuesday, with the final results presented in April, reported the Lusa. The results of the work will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in April.
Johannes Frasnelli, from the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivieres, Canada, and one of the study’s authors, recalled that, although covid-19 is a new disease, previous research had already found that many of the infected people lose their sense of smell and taste in the first stages.
As the scientist explained in a press release from the American Academy of Neurology, the objective of this new work was to go further and observe how long this loss of smell and taste persists, and its severity.
The investigation involved 813 health workers who tested positive for covid-19, each completed a questionnaire and then took a home test to assess their sense of taste and smell normally five months after diagnosis.
Patients rated their sense of taste and smell on a scale from zero to 10, with zero meaning that they had no meaning and 10 meaning a strong sense of taste and smell.
A total of 580 people lost their sense of smell during the disease initially, of this group, 297 participants said they had not yet recovered their sense of smell five months later. On average, people rated their sense of smell with a seven out of 10 after illness, compared to a nine out of 10 before being sick.
527 participants lost their sense of taste at the beginning of the disease and, from this group, 200 people assured that had not yet recovered the meaning taste five months later. On average, people rated their sense of taste as eight out of 10 after illness, compared to nine out of 10 before illness.
“Our results demonstrate that a deteriorated sense of smell and taste can persist in a number of people with covid-19,” said Frasnelli. The importance of monitoring infected people and the need to continue investigating to find out the extent of neurological problems associated with the disease, he added.
The researchers recognize some limitations of this study, including the subjective nature of the odor and taste qualifications.
ZAP / Lusa //