GSK-3 inhibitors show promise in treating coronavirus infections

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Researchers in the United States have suggested a new approach to treating infection with coronaviruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – the agent that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The study showed that inhibiting phosphorylation of a key structural protein expressed on coronaviruses impaired SARS-CoV-2 infection in human lung epithelial cells.

The team used inhibitors of the host cell protein glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) to block phosphorylation of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein that is essential for coronavirus replication.

The researchers also demonstrated that the GSK-3 inhibitor lithium was associated with a significantly reduced risk for COVID-19

“Targeting GSK-3 may therefore provide an antiviral therapy for COVID-19 and for coronavirus infections that may arise in the future,” says Peter Klein from the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues.

A pre-print version of the research paper is available on the medRxiv* server, while the article undergoes peer review.

Coronavirus outbreaks are likely to occur in the future

Klein and colleagues warn that given the major coronavirus outbreaks that have occurred over the last two decades, it is likely that further outbreaks will occur in the future…

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