Research Indicates How the Novel Coronavirus Escapes Cell’s Antiviral Defenses

A University of British Columbia (UBC)-led research team has uncovered how the virus responsible for causing COVID-19 escapes destruction in infected cells, allowing SARS-CoV-2 to persist and continue spreading in the human body. The finding explains the cellular coup d'état staged by the novel coronavirus, and how it disrupts normal cell defenses to hijack human host cells. “We discovered that the virus attaches to and deactivates an important sensor protein in the host cell called galectin-8, which protects the cell against infection. By deactivating galectin-8, SARS-CoV-2 disarms a cell’s antiviral defense system and allows the virus to take over the host,” says Dr. Chris Overall, the study’s senior author, a Canada Research Chair, and a principal investigator at the UBC Centre for Blood Research, Life Sciences Institute and Faculty of Dentistry.

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