Coronavirus Is Caught On Chewing Gum | by Science and Life | Dec, 2021

Science and Life

When a person with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus coughs, sneezes or just talks, viral particles fly away from him in all directions. These are not only the particles that come out of the lungs with water vapor, but also those that appeared in the salivary glands and entered the oral cavity together with saliva.

The staff of the University of Pennsylvania offers Molecular Therapy a way to reduce the amount of virus in the exhaled air — for this you need to chew gum with ACE2 protein. We have all learned that ACE2 is an enzyme on the surface of our cells that the coronavirus uses to enter: the viral protein interacts with ACE2 (and at the same time with another protein), the membrane is inserted under the virus into the cell and the virus penetrates it in the membrane bubble. Researchers are trying to create drugs that would prevent the virus from contacting ACE2. The easiest way here is to add more of the same ACE2 to the environment around the virus, then the proteins on the coronavirus will be occupied by free-floating ACE2 molecules and will no longer interact with cellular ACE2.

For the ACE2 experiment, chewing gum was stuffed, although the experiment itself was not performed with people, but with saliva samples and nasopharyngeal swabs taken from patients. The results were very encouraging: the gum effectively collected the virus on itself, so that, for example, in saliva its level dropped to indistinguishable.

The ACE2 protein for chewing gum was obtained from plants, that is, its gene was introduced into plant cells that produced it in large quantities. With the help of plants, it is cheaper and easier to produce protein than by other methods, so there is hope that anti-coronavirus gum will turn out to be quite cheap. But before you start producing it in commercial quantities, you need to check its anti-coronavirus properties on real patients with coronavirus.

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