Scientists have developed a new molecule that binds to the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19) and prevents the virus from entering human cells and spreading infection.
Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have said that the molecule is cheaper and easier to manufacture than antibodies currently used to treat infections caused by Covid-19. It can detect infectious infections with rapid antigen testing.
The molecule, named ‘PNAS,’ belongs to a class of compounds known as ‘RNA aptamers’ and is based on similar segments used to make mRNA vaccines.
The researchers said that these bind to the virus’s surface, and the ‘RNA aptamer’ prevents the spike protein from being used as a key. The virus enters the cell only through the spike protein. He said that the ‘RNA aptamer’ is not a new type of vaccine, but it is a compound that can stop the virus from spreading in the body.
The study’s lead author and professor at Aarhus University, Jörgen Kjems, said they have begun testing the new aptamer in a rapid test, and they hope it will catch even small amounts of the virus.