A research team at Aarhus University in Denmark has developed a new molecule that attaches to the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles. This attachment prevents the virus from entering human cells and spreading the infection. The newly developed molecule belongs to a class of compounds known as RNA aptamers and it is based on the same type of building blocks that are used for mRNA vaccines. This makes them much cheaper and easier to manufacture than the antibodies that are currently used to treat COVID-19 and to detect viral infection using rapid antigen tests. An aptamer is a piece of DNA or RNA that folds into a 3D structure that can recognize a specific target molecule of interest. By attaching itself to the virus surface, the RNA aptamer prevents the Spike protein from serving as a key that allows the virus to enter a cell.
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