Cure to deadly MERS virus within Reach
SARS, MERS — both these deadly ailments are triggered by viruses that belong to a family called coronaviruses. These attack the respiratory system and are responsible for a third of common colds. But unlike the common cold, severe coronaviruses are more fatal and incurable.
But scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and University of Bern are leading the charge towards finally curing the deadly coronaviruses. Edward Trybala and Volker Thiel have found a compound called K22 that can stop mild and serious coronavirus strains from reproducing in the respiratory system.
In an article published in PLOS Pathogens, the researchers said that when coronaviruses enter the respiratory system, they take over cell membranes that separate the different parts of the human cells. The viruses transform these membranes into an armour-like structure that protects them while it undergoes its life-cycle.
K22 stops the virus from undergoing its life-cycle at the early stages by preventing the virus from controlling the cell membranes. The scientists commented that their research shows that ‘the process is highly sensitive and can be influenced by anti-viral medications.’
Outbreaks of severe coronavirus strains like SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome mean that investment in K22 testing is urgent, said the scientists. SARS epidemic has led to around 800 deaths since 2002. While MERS, discovered in 2012, has killed 193 in 636 confirmed cases worldwide.
MERS is more deadly but less contagious than SARS and has already been imported from the Middle East to over 10 countries, including Britain, France, Italy, Netherlands and the Philippines.
World Health Organization (Who) confirmed that the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is spreading worldwide but has not yet reached global emergency level.