The hunt is on to find a treatment, and eventually a vaccine, to be used against the COVID-19 virus. Canada was able to fast-track research funding to meet the challenge and many labs already looking at the underlying biology of viruses were able to modify their work.
One of those labs is led by virologist Matthias Götte at the University of Alberta. His research team was studying ways to attack the enzymes that play an essential role in the life cycle of a virus. Known as a polymerase, these are the engines needed for the virus to reproduce. Interrupt the reproduction and eventually the virus is gone from the organism. With an important caveat. The treatment must not inhibit the replication of the organism’s own cells.
Labs like Götte's have found ways to safely inhibit the MERS and SARS virus and can apply that knowledge base to the emergence of COVID-19. As with all the COVID-related material we have posted lately, it is still early days in the research cycle and as Götte points out, we'll need patience while waiting for results.
Freelance broadcaster Don Hill talked to Matthias Götte about how he is approaching his latest anti-viral research.