Study Finds a Compound that Blocks SARS-CoV-2 and Protects Lung Cells

The LSU Health New Orleans research team has conducted research on Elovanoids. They found that the bioactive chemical messengers made from omega-3, very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids discovered by the Bazan lab in 2017, could block the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering cells and protect the air cells (alveoli) of the lung. As the compounds are highly protective against damage to the brain and retina of the eye and the COVID-19 virus clearly damages the lung, they tested if the compounds would also protect the lungs.

The research team tested Elovanoids (ELVs) on infected lung tissue from a 78-year-old man in petri dish cultures.

They found that ELVs-

  1. Reduced the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to bind to receptors and enter cells

  2. Triggered the production of protective, anti-inflammatory proteins that counteract lung damage

The scientists report that ELVs decreased the production of ACE2- a protein on the surface of many cell types. ACE2 receptors act like locks on cells, and the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins act like keys that open the locks letting the virus enter cells to multiply rapidly.

They also demonstrated for the first time that alveolar cells are endowed with pathways for the biosynthesis of ELVs.

Since SARS-CoV-2 affects nasal mucosa, the GI tract, the eye, and the nervous system, uncovering the protective potential of ELVs expands the scope of observations beyond the lung.

The results provide a foundation for interventions to modify disease risk, progression, and protection of the lung from COVID-19 or other pathologies (including some types of pneumonia).

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