In its latest edition, Science Signaling has featured a paper, which shows how inorganic polyphosphates exert an antiviral action against the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Haim Bio

Science Signaling features groundbreaking findings

Scientists from South Korea and Italy discovered a substance, which they say can prevent and treat the coronavirus. Their findings were featured by the latest publication of Science Signaling, a sister magazine of Science.

They said in the paper that inorganic polyphosphates can inhibit COVID-19 and its variants, including the alpha variant first identified in the United Kingdom.

Included in the scientists are Haim Bio President Kim Hong-yeoul, Cheong Jae-ho from Yonsei University Medical School, and Massimo Zollo from CEINGE in Italy.

“In the paper featured on the front cover of Science Signaling, we showed in detail the experimental evidence for the inorganic polyphosphate’s inhibition of COVID-19 infection and replication as well as its treatment,” Kim said.

“We experimentally proved that inorganic polyphosphates prevent the coronavirus from recognizing human cells and exert an antiviral action against the coronavirus.”

Kim said that the Korea-Italy joint team proved that inorganic polyphosphates interact with ACE2 and RdRp to inhibit their original function.

Short for angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, ACE2 refers to the host receptor that facilitates virus entry. Brief for RNA-dependent RNA polymerase reactions, RdRp is an enzyme that catalyzes the replication of RNA from an RNA template.

“RdRp is an enzyme indispensable for RNA replication. Further research on inhibiting it may lead to an all-in-one solution to tackling all RNA viruses,” Kim said.

Kim said that inorganic polyphosphates would also have the same antiviral function against the delta variant because the substances target a region where mutations producing the variants do not take place.

“We have learned that inorganic polyphosphates can exert an antiviral action against the coronavirus to fundamentally control and prevent it. The findings were so groundbreaking that we repeated the experiments for almost a year,” Kim said.

“At a time when the world is struggling to grapple with the delta variant first identified in India, the new drug co-developed using inorganic polyphosphates in Korea and Italy provides hope that people can be free from the fear of coronavirus infection.”

Kim said that inorganic polyphosphates could be introduced to humans through nasal sprays.

“We have applied for patents in Korea and other countries,” he said.

He also noted that his team is ready to cooperate with global companies and other countries for international development to help those who are suffering setbacks due to a lack of vaccines.