Development of Decoy Receptors (Bieniasz, Hatziioannou)

The SARS-CoV-2 virus enters cells by its ?S? protein attaching to the cell surface protein ACE2. Paul Bieniasz and Theodora Hatziioannou are fusing the key parts of the ACE2 receptor to the Fc region of antibody molecules. These molecules can bind to the S protein on virus particles and neutralize them and also target virus-infected cells for destruction by Fc binding to immune cells. This approach has the potential to prevent or treat not just infection by SARS-CoV-2 but by the many other coronaviruses in humans and bats that use ACE2 as their receptor for cellular invasion. Thus, this agent may be critical not just for this epidemic but may be able to quickly snuff out future coronavirus epidemics. This is particularly important given that three coronaviruses (SARS, Mers and now SARS-CoV-2) have jumped from animals to humans with serious consequences in recent years. These decoy receptors can potentially be in animal testing in a few months. Paul Bieniasz 212-327-8000

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