Researchers at China's No. 4 Military Medical University have discovered nine polypeptides and 13 antibodies that can restrain the coronavirus which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Three of the polypeptides have passed tests by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of China, reported the People's Daily Overseas Edition Thursday.
The polypeptides proved to be effective in restraining the coronavirus in in-vitro studies conducted by the CDC, the newspaper said.
The coronavirus is a kind of single-stranded ribovirus, said Chen Zhinan, who is director of the cell engineering center and incharge of SARS research at the medical university.
Chen and his colleagues found a sun-like ring around the coronavirus and four structural proteins inside. They also discovered that the S protein played a critical role in self-replication and invasion into human cells.
The three new-found polypeptides could stop the coronavirus from intruding into human cells, said Chen.
So far, there are no available special medicine to cure and treat SARS cases. The new discovery signifies a significant step forward in developing anti-SARS medicines.
It will take some time to put the laboratory discovery into clinical use, said Chen, adding that he and his colleagues are doing medicine-effect in vitro tests.