Israeli scientist claims he’s two-thirds into developing vaccine for COVID-19
An Israeli scientist claims that he is two-thirds into developing a vaccine for COVID-19.
Professor Jonathan Gershoni from Tel Aviv University’s (TAU) School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology said that the work his laboratory was doing on corona family of viruses was two-thirds of the way into developing a vaccine for COVID-19 in a report put out by The Jerusalem Post.
Despite the claim, Gershoni said that while he has made good progress, the vaccine could still take over a year to develop. He said that the vaccine would target the virus’ Receptor Binding Motif (RBM), which is a critical weak point of the virus.
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The RBM is what allows the virus to attach itself and infect a target cell. The RBM is a small feature of the virus’ ‘spike’ protein, meaning that the virus uses many different proteins to replicate and invade cells, but the ‘spike’ protein is the major surface protein that it uses to bind to a receptor – another protein that acts like a doorway into a human cell, according to TAU. Gershoni has been studying viruses for 15 years.
Due to the size of the RBM, which is a highly complex three-dimensional structure and only 50 amino acids long, it will be very challenging for it to be functionally reconstituted.
It would, however, be extremely effective as a basis for a possible vaccine. Gershoni originally developed the design of the vaccine which targets the RBM in response to SARS CoV, which broke out in 2004, and later for MERS CoV. “What we found was that we were able to reconstitute, to create a functional Receptor Binding Motif, and that’s when we filed for patent in 2015,” he explained to The Jerusalem Post.