Scientists identify protein structure that carries the coronavirus

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A team of Chinese scientists has identified the complete structure of the ACE2 protein, which the coronavirus uses to enter human cells, which may facilitate the development of possible antiviral therapies.

The study, published this Wednesday in the scientific journal Science, is signed by researchers from three institutions in China, a country where the coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 disease, was first detected at the end of last year.

“Our discovery not only helps to understand the mechanics of viral infection” but also “facilitates the development of virus detection techniques and possible antiviral therapies”, say the study authors, cited in the magazine.

The team, led by Renhong Yan, of the Westlake Institute for Advanced Studies, analyzed and described the structure of the ACE2 protein, which has not been fully known until now. It is the ACE2 protein that the new coronavirus “hijacks” to enter human cells.

The Covid-19 outbreak, detected in December in China, and which can cause respiratory infections such as pneumonia, caused about 3,200 deaths and infected more than 94,000 people in 80 countries, including six in Portugal.

Of those infected, about 50,000 recovered. There are still reports of fatalities in Iran, Italy, South Korea, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Thailand, the United States of America, the Philippines and Iraq.

The World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 outbreak as an international public health emergency and increased the risk to “very high”.

Source: SIC Noticias

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