Novel virus-like particle
Why in news?
An IISc team has developed and tested a novel virus-like particle (VLP) – a non-infectious Nano scale molecule that resembles and behaves like the virus but does not contain its native genetic material – in a study published in Microbiology Spectrum.
- The researchers have applied for a patent for their VLP and hope to develop it into a vaccine candidate. They also plan to study the effect of the VLP on other animal models, and eventually humans.
VLPs have several uses:
- they are not only used to safely study the effect of mutations that may arise in SARS-CoV-2 – without requiring a BSL-3 facility – but can also potentially be developed into a vaccine candidate that can trigger an immune response in our bodies.
- These VLPs can also be used to cut down the time taken to screen drugs that can fight the virus
To study the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the researchers need to isolate the virus from the samples, create multiple copies of it, and analyse its transmissibility and efficiency at entering living cells. However, working with such a highly infectious virus is dangerous and requires a Bio Safety Level-3 (BSL-3) lab, only a handful of which across the country are equipped to handle such viruses.