Coronavirus caught on chewing gum | Science and life

When a person with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus coughs, sneezes or just talks, viral particles fly from him in all directions. These are not only those particles that leave the lungs with water vapor, but also those that appeared in the salivary glands and went out into the oral cavity along with saliva.

Employees University of Pennsylvania offer in Molecular Therapy A way to reduce the amount of virus in the exhaled air is to chew gum with ACE2 protein. We have already learned that ACE2 is an enzyme on the surface of our cells that the coronavirus uses to enter: the viral protein interacts with ACE2 (and at the same time with another protein), the membrane invades the cell under the virus and the virus enters it in the membrane vesicle. Researchers are trying to create drugs that would prevent the virus from contacting ACE2. The easiest way here is to add more of the same ACE2 to the environment around the virus, then the proteins on the coronavirus will be occupied by free-floating ACE2 molecules and will no longer interact with cellular ACE2.

For the ACE2 experiment, chewing gum was stuffed, however, the experiment itself was not performed with people, but with saliva samples and nasopharyngeal swabs taken from patients. The results were very encouraging: the chewing gum effectively collected the virus, so that, for example, in saliva, its level dropped to indistinguishable.

The ACE2 protein for chewing gum was obtained from plants, that is, its gene was introduced into plant cells, which produced it in large quantities. With the help of plants, it is cheaper and easier to produce protein than other methods, so there is a hope that anti-coronavirus gum will turn out to be quite cheap. But before you start producing it in marketable quantities, you need to test its anti-coronavirus properties on real patients with coronavirus.

Source: Автономная некоммерческая организация "Редакция журнала «Наука и жизнь»" by

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