Northwestern University researchers including VBFF, Monica Olvera de la Cruz have uncovered a new vulnerability in the novel coronavirus’ infamous spike protein which highlights a relatively simple, potential treatment pathway. Using nanometer-level simulations, the researchers discovered a positively charged site (known as the polybasic cleavage site) located 10 nanometers from the actual binding site on the spike protein. The positively charged site allows strong bonding between the virus protein and the negatively charged human-cell receptors.
Leveraging this discovery, the researchers designed a negatively charged molecule to bind to the positively charged cleavage site. Blocking this site inhibits the virus from bonding to the host cell.