Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered a novel, second mechanism of action by the antiviral drug remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2, according to findings published today in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The research team previously demonstrated how remdesivir inhibits the COVID-19 virus’s polymerase or replication machinery in a test tube.
Matthias Götte, chair of medical microbiology and immunology in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, likened the polymerase to the engine of the virus. He said the first mechanism the team identified is like putting diesel fuel into an engine that needs regular gasoline.
“You can imagine that if you give it more and more diesel, you will go slower and slower and slower,” he said.
The newly identified mechanism is more like a roadblock, “so if you want to go from A to B with the wrong fuel and terrible road conditions, you either never reach B