NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There is new hope in the fight against COVID variants.

A group of closely related viruses with a common ancestor is a “lineage,” and genetic lineages of SARS-CoV-2 have been circulating around the globe since the beginning of the pandemic.

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine’s Wilen Lab say a new class of drugs can turn off cells’ ACE2 receptors leaving the cells resistant to covid infection.

“Viruses get into cells by using a lock and key mechanism. And ACE2 is really the lock, and the virus has the key. It’s the only way the virus can get into the cell. There’s no other method for SARS-CoV-2 to get into cells. All the variants use the exact same receptor, so any way you block the receptor, you block infection,” said Dr. Craig Wilen, Associate Professor of Laboratory Medicine Immunobiology.

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The challenge for scientists now is translating these findings into drugs that can help people.
Wilen said it’s about finding the resources to translate these to drugs that can work and let them be one step ahead of the virus.

“This is an approach where we’re attacking the host side, and preventing the host from even turning on the receptor, so now there’s no receptor for the host to bind to,” Wilen said.