Esya's Probes and COVID-19

Enabling Drug Development Against COVID-19

Coronaviruses, including SARS-COV-2, are a diverse group of RNA viruses from the Coronaviridae family. They require host cells to replicate and survive and enter the cell through two main processes.


A coronavirus infects host cells through a series of interactions with the target cell. Virus cells bind to the target host cells by interacting with its cellular receptors, breach the cellular membrane of the host cell – either through fusing with the host cell’s membrane or triggering entry through endocytosis, and deliver genetic material inside the host cell to exploit existing cellular mechanisms for its own reproduction. Many coronaviruses mainly enter host cells through endocytosis.


Two critical steps that facilitate this form of viral entry are clathrin-dependent endocytosis and cathepsin-mediated S-protein cleavage. Based on this, three groups of medications are considered clinically-relevant: lysosomotropic agents, endosomal-lysosomal protease inhibitors, and clathrin-mediated endocytosis inhibitors.


Esya’s in-cellulo probes can understand the effectiveness of all three of these drug classes against SARS-COV-2 and can be used to better understand their effects on normal and abnormal cellular processes.


Second, viroporins are membrane proteins created from viral genetic material that allow viral entry, release, and have been shown to regulate multiple stages of viral life. Esya’s in-vitro probes allow for the testing of various viroporin-inhibiting compounds using ratiometric fluorescence-based quantification in artificial lipid systems.

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