Much of the effort to develop remedies and vaccines to fight COVID-19 has centered around the spike protein that the culprit virus, SARS-CoV-2, uses to invade healthy cells. Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute believe they’ve found a way to block the spike protein’s ability to infect cells—and it involves a 78-year-old blood thinner.
The drug is heparin, which is widely used to treat and prevent blood clots. The RPI team discovered that SARS-CoV-2 binds tightly to heparin, making the drug a potential “decoy” that could serve as a way to neutralize the virus before it can infect healthy cells. They reported the finding in the journal Antiviral Research.