Structure of Coronavirus. Image Credit: Wiki Image
As the cases of COVID-19 is increasing day-by-day and almost all countries are in the stage of lockdown. Though some countries are employing a step-by-step reopening strategy, till now, there exists no concrete answer about its vaccine to be used properly and we can not say the exact time to curb coronavirus. In the race of determining the antidrug of COVID-19, a US biotechnology firm, Moderna Therapeutics, has already begun human trials for a vaccine candidate, but it could still take up to 18 months for it to be available to the public, even if went successful trails.
Stephen Cusack - the head of the European Molecular biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Grenoble, France, and a graduated physicist, states that in order to replicate, like other viruses, influenza also has to produce a code for its proteins known as messenger RNA (mRNA). In order to trick the cell to produce more of the virus, this code needs to match the mRNA of a healthy host cell that the virus is invading.
Influenza does not have its' own enzymes to synthesize the matching mRNA from scratch and so they involve in the process called "cap snatching". Cusack employed the cryo-EM technique to snapshot different stages of the entire polymerase transcription in order to uncover weaknesses that can be targeted by drugs. Cusack claimed, "if you can stop this mechanism from working, you can stop the virus from replicating."
It has been claimed that the coronavirus has about 30 proteins which is small compared to human cells (humans have more than 20,000). Due to this small number of proteins in a cell coronavirus can’t reproduce on their own and to get around with this limited set of tools and they cleverly turn the human body against itself.
The pathways into the human cell are locked to invaders from outside, but the coronavirus uses its own proteins like keys to open these "locks" and enter a person's cells. Once viruses get inside the cell they use the resources and mechanism of the cell producing thousands of viruses that will eventually lead to the death of the cell. This process is simply hijacking the cell and turning it into a production factory of coronavirus.