Trishna Patel Rose Hills
Investigating the antiviral effects and mechanism of action of cyclodextrins against SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis
The recent COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), has catalyzed a global public health crisis, and effective therapeutics as well as a deeper understanding of the mechanism of severe disease induced by SARS-CoV-2 infections are desperately needed. Severe cases of COVID-19 are associated with vascular leak in the lungs of infected individuals, a similar pathology to that of flaviviruses, for which preliminary research has shown that synthetic sulfated glycans may function as potential antivirals. In particular, cyclodextrins, a family of cyclic oligosaccharides with potential use as active pharmaceuticals, are promising candidates for efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 infection and vascular leak. Coronaviruses interact with heparan sulfate-containing proteoglycans on the surface of susceptible cells, which serve as non-specific attachment factors. Specifically, the SARS-CoV-2 S protein binds heparin on the host cell surface, making this cellular attachment stage a potential target for antiviral therapeutics before pathology is triggered in the lungs. This summer, I will be investigating specific cyclodextrins for their ability to either directly target the SARS-CoV-2 virus or block attachment to the host cell surface.