The anticoagulant heparin could stop up to 70% the entry of COVID-19 into cells, according to a study by the Federal University of Sao Paulo ( Unifesp), in collaboration with English and Italian scientists.
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The study, released this Monday, by the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp), points out that the drug, in addition to fighting bleeding disorders that can affect the pulmonary vessels and oxygenation, appears to have the ability to “ hindering ”the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells.
Scientists performed laboratory tests on cell lineages from African green monkey kidney (Cercopithecus aethiops) and found that Parina reduced the invasion of cells by the new coronavirus by 70%.
The results of the study were published on the bioRxiv platform, in a preprint version (without peer review).  “There was evidence that heparin, which is a drug that performs various pharmacological functions, also had the ability to prevent viral infections, including by coronaviruses, but the evidence had not been very strong. We managed to demonstrate this property of the drug in in vitro tests, “said Helena Bonciani Nader, professor at Unifesp and coordinator of the project on the Brazilian side, cited by the FAPESP news agency.
The Brazilian scientist and the group that He leads they have been studying glycosaminoglycans for over 40 years, as the complex carbohydrates to which heparin belongs are called.
They developed the first low molecular weight heparins, used clinically as anticoagulant and antithrombotic agents, even in patients with COVID-19 .
During the study of heparin, the group discovered that in addition to serving as a coagulant, this drug can bind to various proteins, such as “those of growth factors and binding cytokines to specific receptors on the surface of the target cells. ”
This led the scientists at Unifesp, in collaboration with English and Italian colleagues will assess whether the surface protein of the new coronavirus – called the spike protein – that is responsible for the infection of the cells, bound to heparin.
Experiments confirmed that when heparin binds to the tip proteins of SARS-CoV-2 it causes a conformational alteration in these molecules that would lead to a kind of “block” for the virus.
“If not It enters the cell, the virus cannot multiply and it does not succeed in infection, “explained Nader.
With information from EFE