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by Juhi Tripathi

Date & Time: Dec 08, 2021 9:00 AM

Read Time: 2 minute

Scientists are working on a chewing gum enlaced with a plant-grown protein that acts as a "trap" for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which produces Covid-19, lowering viral load in saliva and potentially lowering transmission.

Vaccinated people are still prone to the virus!
People who have been fully vaccinated can still become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and carry a viral burden equivalent to individuals who have not been immunized with the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the researchers.

Replication of SARS-CoV-2
"SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and we know that part of that virus may be transferred and spread when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks," said Henry Daniell of the University of Pennsylvania in the United States.
"This gum provides a chance to neutralize the virus in the saliva, offering us a simple technique to potentially cut down on a source of disease transmission," said Daniell, the study's lead author.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) & its Significance
Daniell had been researching the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein from the perspective of treating hypertension before the pandemic.
His group has used a patented plant-based manufacturing technology to produce this protein, as well as several others with therapeutic potential.
According to the researchers, this approach has the potential to overcome the typical barriers to protein drug synthesis, such as a costly production and purifying procedure.
They discovered that the ACE2 receptor on human cells also binds the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which the virus utilizes to infect the cells.
Injections of ACE2 have been proven in the past to lower viral load in persons with severe illnesses.

The Unique Chewing Gum
Daniell and her colleague Hyun Koo have also been working on developing a chewing gum loaded with plant-grown proteins to help fight tooth plaque.
Daniell wondered if a gum injected with plant-grown ACE2 proteins may neutralize SARS-CoV-2 in the oral cavity, combining his knowledge of ACE2 with this technology.
To test the chewing gum, the researchers cultivated ACE2 in plants with a chemical that allows the protein to pass mucosal barriers and aids binding. The plant material is used to make cinnamon-flavored gum pills by the researchers.

They demonstrated that the ACE2 contained in nasopharyngeal swabs from Covid-positive individuals might neutralize SARS-CoV-2 viruses by incubating them with the gum. They next inserted the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein into viruses that were less pathogenic than SARS-CoV-2. The gum primarily stops viruses or viral particles from entering cells, either by inhibiting the ACE2 receptor on the cells or by binding directly to the spike protein, according to the researchers.
Finally, the researchers exposed saliva samples from Covid-19 patients to the ACE2 gum and discovered that viral RNA levels dropped to virtually undetectable levels.

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