Researchers discover small proteins which may reduce inflammation caused by Covid-19

Chennai: Researchers have found a new drug which they claim could be useful to combat inflammation of all varieties, an advance that may help in fighting aggravated immune response in respiratory illnesses such as Covid-19.

According to the journal Cell Reports, the therapeutic called TAT CARMIL1 is actually a combination of two naturally occurring small proteins, or peptides.

Scientists including those from the University of Toronto in Canada said when the two peptides are combined, they work together to penetrate a cell’s membrane in order to dampen an acute inflammatory response.

In the current study, they said the peptide reduced degradation of the protein called collagen by up to 43 per cent.

If deployed early enough, the scientists said, the peptide could reduce some of the worst damage caused by acute inflammatory responses.

Researchers said acute infections, such as those caused by the novel coronavirus, can cause inflammatory responses known as ‘cytokine storms,’ — a term that has gained in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Scientists explained that when the body becomes overwhelmed by infections, such as those caused by influenza, H1N1 or Covid-19, it can release an unregulated flood of molecules called cytokines into the body.

They said when the body becomes overwhelmed by infections such as those caused by influenza, H1N1 or Covid-19, it can lead to the unregulated release of a flood of cytokines into the body — a natural defense response to an acute infection.

Under such cases, the study noted that infection-busting cytokines can cause severe damage in the body — everything from holes in the lung tissue to vascular damage and blot clots, with the most acute cases causing death.

The peptide combines a segment of a naturally occurring protein, CARMIL1, with a peptide ‘vehicle,’ TAT, that brings the CARMIL1 directly into the cell, they said and added this enables the CARMIL1 to calm the inflammatory storm.

In a media statement, they said, “the CARMIL peptide effectively blocks a family of cytokines, called interleukin1, from signalling and reproducing in vast quantities.”


NT Bureau