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Recent study reveals that spheroid cells, also known as LSCs, which are produced by human lungs can combat and SARS-Cov-2 or COVID-19. The process LSC uses is through copying the receptors that the coronavirus attaches instead of targeting the viral cells directly. This process is also called nanodecoy therapy which is proven effective against various types of COVID-19.


Nanodecoy 'Buy Bust' Operation Against Coronavirus Discovered by Biomedical Experts

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(Photo: NCSU)

The novel coronavirus has a habit of entering cells once it attaches to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2, with the cell surface receptor through its own spike proteins. Epithelial stem cells in the human lungs or LSCs are also capable of ACE2, which makes them a perfect decoy against the virus.

Experts show the nanodecoy process in the journal published in Nature Technology entitled "Cell-mimicking nanodecoys neutralize SARS-CoV-2 and mitigate lung injury in a non-human primate model of COVID-19." In the study, it is stated that the spike protein of the virus and the LSC intertwines with each other after the LSC mimics the ACE2 receptor. The fake locks which LSC copies overwhelm and trap the virus, preventing it from entering cells.

The trick holds off the SARS-Cov-2 cells from penetrating the human cells through binding and trapping. This elaborate 'buy-bust' operation leaves the human cells unreplicated and unaffected by the virus, while at the same time assists the immune system with their work.

North Carolina State University Regenerative Medicine and Biomedical Engineering professor and co-author of the study Ke Cheng converted the tiny LSCs into nanovesicles with the help of colleagues.

The nanovesicles are bubbles comprised of cell membranes with ACE2 receptors covered with a surface full of lung-specific proteins. In reference to the study, the ACE2 receptors successfully bind with the spike protein on the decoys. The experiment included mice subjects that were induced with the nanodecoys through inhalation therapy. The nanodecoys stayed on the mice's lungs for 72 hours before accelerating the clearance of the virus copies, reports SciTech Daily.

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Nanodecoy Inhalation Therapy Now on Clinical Trial, Experts Hoping to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic Soon

The following observation of the macaque model concluded that the nanodecoy inhalation therapy was effective in viral clearance. The therapy was also proven to reduce fibrosis, as well as the inflammation of lungs significantly. Further studies will be conducted regarding the nanodecoy therapy for the process to be tested in human subjects. Even if there is no toxicity recorded in the observations, research will also pursue how the bodies clean the nanodecoys.

Additional information regarding the nanodecoys is that they act as a ghost inside the human body, even if 11,000 pieces of them are made by one LSC. Producing nanodecoys in different numbers is effective, whether it be millions or hundreds. The more nanodecoys are deployed, the more effective it is at trapping the virus. After all the work, it will then be consumed by macrophages without a trace, which is the natural cleaning system of the cells.

The nanodecoy therapy offers possible benefits to the medical industry, especially in treating people diagnosed with COVID-19. It can be easily transported harmlessly inside the human body via inhalation, and can be preserved for further use due to the acellular non-living organisms inside each of the cells. The therapy is now in the clinical trial stage, and experts are hoping that the process of binding and trapping the coronavirus on the human lungs can be used to combat the pandemic in the near future, reports Science Daily.

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Check out more news and information on COVID-19 on Science Times.