Experts in the media – UConn’s Dr. Sandra Weller in the New York Times on why scientists are worried as COVID-19 mutatesFebruary 8, 20212 min read
COVID-9 is changing. With variants from places like Britain, Brazil, and South Africa surfacing and presenting in patients around the globe, the virus that scientists are trying to trap seems to be finding ways to wiggle free.
The topic has many in the scientific and health care communities concerned, and recently, the New York Times featured leading experts to help explain what is happening and what American’s need to know to stay safe and healthy.
Now, Dr. Denison and Sandra Weller, a virologist at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, are investigating whether this insight could treat people with Covid.
Certain antiviral drugs such as remdesivir fight infections by serving as RNA decoys that gum up the viral replication process. But these medications don’t work as well as some had hoped for coronaviruses. One theory is that the nsp14-ExoN enzyme chucks out the errors caused by these drugs, thereby rescuing the virus.
Dr. Denison and Dr. Weller, among others, are looking for drugs that would block the activity of nsp14-ExoN, allowing remdesivir and other antivirals to work more effectively. Dr. Weller likens this approach to the cocktail therapies for H.I.V., which combine molecules that act on different aspects of the virus’s replication. “We need combination therapy for coronaviruses,” she said.
Dr. Weller notes that nsp14-ExoN is shared across coronaviruses, so a drug that successfully suppresses it could act against more than just SARS-CoV-2. She and Dr. Denison are still at the early stages of drug discovery, testing different molecules in cells. February 05 – New York Times
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is seeing many different twists in turns as scientists are learning more about the virus and how we can contain its spread – and if you are a journalist looking to speak with an expert on the topic, then let us help.
Sandra K. Weller is Professor and Chair in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Connecticut and is a world-renowned expert in the spread of viruses. Dr. Weller is available to speak with media – simply click on her icon now to arrange an interview today.
Sandra K. Weller, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics
Sandra K. Weller, Ph.D., is an expert in the herpes simplex virus.