Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a nanodecoy system that provides a binding site for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Vesicles prevent the virus from binding to lung cells and help the immune system eventually destroy it. Nanodecoys are derived from lung spheroid cells and contain angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors on their surface. Because the ACE2 receptor is the binding and entry point for SARS-CoV-2 virus to lung cells, the vesicles essentially act as false binding sites to trick the virus. Nanodecoy is promising as an inhalation treatment for rodents and non-human primates and may be useful as a treatment for COVID-19 in humans.
Existing approaches to combating the SARS-CoV-2 virus have mainly focused on the virus itself. All of our vaccines target peplomers, and one of the few approved direct treatments for COVID-19 is a monoclonal antibody that targets the virus (rather than a symptomatological treatment). However, as new viral variants show, the virus is not a static target, and such treatments can be nullified by mutations in the virus.
Less likely to change is the ACE2 receptor, which is a viral target in the body. This latest treatment aims to overwhelm the viral particles in the lungs at the binding site so that they are ineffective and easily removed by the immune system. Researchers hope that this treatment will increase virus clearance from the body, reduce symptoms, and prevent the virus from damaging the lungs.
“Given the peplomer as the key and the cell’s ACE2 receptor as the lock, what Nanodecoy is doing is overwhelming the virus with a fake lock, making it impossible to find anything that invades lung cells. “In a press release from North Carolina State University, researcher Ke Chen, who was involved in the study, explained. “A fake lock binds and traps the virus, preventing it from infecting and replicating cells, and the body’s immune system processes the rest.”
So far, researchers have shown that inhaled nanodecoys attach to the lungs of mice for at least 72 hours, increasing clearance of viruses that mimic SARS-CoV-2. Another study of macaques has shown that nanodecoys reduce lung inflammation and fibrosis and increase viral clearance. Further research is needed to measure the therapeutic potential of human patients.
“Focusing on the body’s defenses rather than the ever-mutating virus could create long-term treatments,” Chen said. “As long as the virus needs to invade lung cells, we can continue to trick it.”
This is a video explaining a new technology from North Carolina.
Study at Nature nanotechnology: Cell-mimicking nanodecoy neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 and reduces lung damage in non-human primate models of COVID-19
https://www.medgadget.com/2021/06/nanodecoys-bind-sars-cov-2-for-destruction-by-immune-system.html Nanodecoy binds to SARS-CoV-2 due to destruction by the immune system