The whole world has been shaken due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers working in various fields are toiling every day to get rid of the virus. Yet, we are still in an unsuccessful stage. Initially, they have identified that the virus is gaining entry to the human cell by ACE2 enzyme.
We further notice that the morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19 are high in those people suffering, particularly from Type-2 Diabetes. This especially occurs in an aged individual. Scientists have focussed on this aspect and found that an enzyme DPP4 was increased in diabetic patients. Drugs which act against DPP4 are regularly taken for Type 2 diabetes and also seems to be beneficial in COVID-19 patients.
More about DPP4
DPP4 (dipeptidyl peptidase) is an enzyme that is significantly more in Diabetic patients. It is a type || transmembrane glycoprotein, expressed ubiquitously in many tissues, including the immune cells. Its primary function includes regulating glucose and insulin metabolism. It degrades incretins such as glucagon-like peptide(GLP-1), and glucose depended on insulinotropic polypeptide, ultimately leading to reduce insulin secretion and abnormal adipose tissue metabolism.
Also, DPP4 is known to be a key receptor for MERS-coronavirus ( Middle East respiratory syndrome) for its entry into the cell. Professor Mark Gorrel has recommended that SARS-CoV-2 being similar to SARS-CoV and MERS can bind to both DPP4 and ACE-2 enzyme and so the virus has either way to infect the lungs and gut.
What about proteases
The spike (S) protein of coronavirus attaches to the ACE-2 enzyme as the entry receptor and then uses host protease TMPRSS2 for S priming, thereby fusing both virus and cellular membrane. The actual role of TMPRSS2 is to activate the spike protein and cleave it into S1 and S2. S1 contains the receptor-binding domain, which allows the virus to directly bind to the peptidase domain of ACE-2, while S2 helps in membrane fusion.
Later the Professor Gorrel has added that they are looking to develop a selective TMPRSS2 inhibitor, which could be used as a novel therapy in treating viral cases. Various approaches to treat COVID-19 have been enabled by the researchers, and we hope for the best in the future.
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