Drugs Mimicking Effects of Cigarette Smoke May Help COVID-19 Therapy: Study | The Weather Channel – Articles de The Weather Channel


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(Kevin Antao / BCCL Ahmedabad)

Researchers have identified two drugs that mimic the effect of chemicals in cigarette smoke and reduce the ability of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to enter cells.

The two drugs — 6-formylindolo (3,2-b) carbazole (FICZ) and omeprazole (OMP) —mimic the effects of cigarette smoke to bind to a receptor in mammalian cells. This inhibits the production of ACE2 proteins, a process that appears to reduce the capacity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Results appear in the journal Scientific reports.

FICZ is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan, while OMP is already widely used in the treatment of acid reflux and peptic ulcers.

There is a paradox when it comes to smoking and COVID-19. Active smoking is associated with increased disease severity, but at the same time, many reports have suggested a lower number of COVID cases in smokers than in non-smokers.

“We must point out the presence of strong evidence showing that smoking increases the severity of COVID-19,” said Keiji Tanimoto of the Research Institute for Radiobiology and Medicine at Hiroshima University. “But the mechanism we discovered here deserves further investigation as a potential tool to fight SARS-CoV-2 infections,” Tanimoto added.

It is known that cigarette smoke contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which can bind to and activate aryl hydrocarbon (AHR) receptors.

The researchers wanted to study the effect of drugs that activate AHR on the expression of genes that control the production of the ACE2 protein, the infamous receptor protein on the surface of many types of cells that functions as a SARS virus lock. -CoV-2. can choose. After binding the virus to the ACE2 protein, it can then enter and infect the cell.

Scientists found that cells from the oral cavity, lungs and liver had the highest ACE2 expression. These cells strongly expressing ACE2 were then subjected to various doses of cigarette smoke extract for 24 hours.

Additionally, using RNA sequencing analysis, they found that cigarette smoke extract and these two drugs, which all act as AHR activators, can suppress ACE2 expression. in mammalian cells and in doing so, reduce the ability of SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter the cell.

Based on in vitro results, the team is now conducting preclinical and clinical trials of the drugs as a novel anti-COVID-19 treatment.


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