In a new study from Northwestern Medicine and elsewhere, researchers identified natural nano-bubbles containing the ACE2 protein (evACE2) in the blood of COVID-19 patients.
They discovered these nano-sized particles can block infection from broad strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus in preclinical studies.
The evACE2 acts as a decoy in the body and can serve as a therapeutic to be developed for prevention and treatment for current and future strains of SARS-CoV-2 and future coronaviruses.
Once developed as a therapeutic product, it can benefit human beings as a biological treatment with minimal toxicities.
The study is the first to show evACE2 proteins are capable of fighting the new SARS-CoV-2 variants with an equal or better efficacy than blocking the original strain.
The researchers found these evACE2 nanobubbles exist in human blood as a natural anti-viral response. The more severe the disease, the higher the levels of evACE2 detected in the patient’s blood.
The team says whenever a new mutant strain of SARS-CoV-2 surges, the original vaccine and therapeutic antibodies may lose power against alpha, beta, delta and the most recent omicron variants.
However, the beauty of evACE2 is its superpower in blocking broad strains of coronaviruses, including the current SARS-CoV-2 and even future SARS coronaviruses from infecting humans.
The animal studies demonstrate the therapeutic potential of evACE2 in preventing or blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection when it is delivered to the airway via droplets.
The evACE2 proteins are tiny lipid (fat) bubbles in nanoparticle size that express the ACE2 protein, like handles onto which the virus can grab.
These bubbles act as decoys to lure the SARS-CoV-2 virus away from the ACE2 protein on cells, which is how the virus infects cells.
The virus spike protein grabs the handle of evACE2 instead of cellular ACE2, preventing it from entering the cell.
Once captured, the virus will either float harmlessly around or be cleared by a macrophage immune cell. At that point, it can no longer cause infection.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been extended and challenged by a constantly changing virus SARS-CoV-2. One of the biggest challenges is the moving target of pathogenic coronavirus that constantly evolves into new virus strains (variants) with mutations.
These new viral strains harbor various changes in the viral spike protein with high infection rates and increased breakthroughs due to vaccine inefficiencies and resistance to therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.
If you care about COVID, please read studies that nanoparticles in COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are nothing to fear, and this new COVID-19 vaccine booster can effectively prevent disease.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about the most effective face-mask practices to reduce spread of COVID-19, and results showing that Omicron makes booster shots more critical for medically vulnerable seniors.
The study was conducted by Dr. Huiping Liu et al.
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