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Interaction of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with heparin: therapeutic potential

Abstract

Currently, there are no commercially available medicinal products designed to treat and/or prevent infections associated with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak. Traditional drug development processes are slow and ineffective against such emerging public health threats. Repurposing existing drugs that are capable of preventing and treating novel coronavirus infections is a timely and attractive alternative. Heparin, a well-tolerated anticoagulant pharmaceutical, has been used safely in medicine for >80 years and alongside its anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory activities, its ability to prevent viral infection, including coronavirus, has been described. Preliminary data show that the Surface Glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, protein responsible for the invasion of host cells, binds to heparin. Also, COVID-19 high mortality rates are associated with coagulopathy and cytokine storm. Therefore, this project aims to study and explore the structural properties of heparin that mediate such interaction as proof of concept for the development of heparin-based antiviral drugs. (AU)

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