COVID19 Breakthrough

PUBLISHED: 5:40 PM 23 Apr 2020

Breakthrough! Louisville Researchers Have Developed Technology That Blocks Virus

This is a huge development, and the university is asking for funding to accelerate the development, while already applying to the FDA for testing approval.

The synthetic DNA blocks the virus from infiltrating cells. (Source: University of Louisville YouTube Screenshot)

Researchers at the University of Louisville have developed a “breakthrough” in the battle against coronavirus. On Wednesday, the school announced that their biocontainment unit had developed technology that actually blocks the virus from penetrating human cells.

Kentucky.com reported:

The school said researchers have developed technology that it believes will block coronavirus from infecting human cells. It is seeking fast-track development for the new technology and has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for testing approval.

“The technology is based on a piece of synthetic DNA — an ‘aptamer’ — which targets and binds with a human protein called nucleolin,” the university said Wednesday. “Early tests show that this aptamer may stop viruses, including novel coronavirus, from ‘hijacking’ nucleolin to replicate inside the body.”

The piece of DNA was formerly applied as a potential drug against forms of cancer, the school said.

Paula Bates, a researcher at the university involved with the technology, said UofL is one of the few universities in the country able to do experiments using the coronavirus. The university’s biocontainment is the only one of its kind in Kentucky.

Experiments were conducted that showed “the aptamer was effective against the virus at doses previous research has shown to be safe in patients,” the university said.

The university is asking for donations to fund its research.

The news of the University of Louisville’s “breakthrough” was enough to excite fans from its rival, the University of Kentucky.

“I’m a UK fan but I’ll throw up an L for this one,” one person commented on Twitter, paying a nod to a common Louisville gesture.

“Best thing out of UL since Coach Kenny Payne,” another person wrote on Twitter, remarking about a current UK men’s basketball assistant coach who played at Louisville.

“Probably the only time I’ll say go UofL, but GO UOFL!!” Nathan Ellis wrote. “Representing our state well!!!”

Given the democratic governor’s stance on the virus, like arresting people who attend Easter service, this is great news.