Mexican scientists study SARS-CoV-2 replication machinery

SARS-CoV-2 has a genome that duplicates through the use of nucleic acid polymerases

Mexican scientists look into SARS-CoV-2 RNA replication machinery to speed up COVID-19 drug development
This photo taken on April 9, 2020 shows technicians making medical test kits in a lab - Photo: Greg Baker/AFP
English 29/07/2020 12:59 Mexico City Actualizada 12:59

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Mexican scientists have begun a new study to speed up the answers that help combat the infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 through the analysis of the pathogen’s replication machinery.

This research work, inspired on the clinical trial “Solidarity” by the World Health Organization (WHO),  is in charge of a team from the Advanced Studies and Research Center (CINVESTAV). Luis Gabriel Brieba de Castro, leader of the project, asserted that “the study of nucleic acid is important because living things depend on their metabolism by specialized enzymes called ‘nucleic acid polymerases’.”

The research team affiliated to the Advanced Genomic Unit (UGA-Langebio) is working, along with support from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the Hidalgo government, in an analysis of special replication machinery comprised of nucleic acid polymerases, to understand the complexity of proteins, such as the one in charge of producing an original SAR-CoV-2 genome in a precise way.

“The virus must replicate and an important aspect of its nucleic acid polymerases is that they contain an associated edition domain and when they incorporate a wrong nucleotide, they are able to notice the mistake and edit it,” added Brieba de Castro.

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 The objective is to study the process by which the polymerase edits the coronavirus’s genome since “they notice a mistake and edit it; to say it in some way, it’s like when people used old typing machine and when they made a mistake, they could put correction fluid to edit it and then write over that mistake.”

According to a statement, the researchers are interested in analyzing the incorporation of remdesivir, which is the most promising drug against the virus so far.

“Analyzing the machinery that duplicates their genetic material can help improve existing drugs for its treatment as well as the design of a new generation of drugs,” said the experts.

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