|EpiGentek releases first-to-market kits to detect SARS-CoV-2-targeted furin activity and screen for inhibitors against COVID-19
FARMINGDALE, N.Y., July 9, 2020 - New York-based biotechnology firm EpiGentek has released a series of SARS-CoV-2 research assays in combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The two kits focus on studies of SARS-CoV-2 targeted furin or proprotein convertase (PC) cleavage activity. These first-of-its-kind tools can be used to rapidly detect SARS-CoV-2 targeted PC and facilitated proteases using biological samples as well as screen for inhibitors of these enzymes that cleave SARS-CoV-2 proteins. Subsequent implications can be the effective development of drug candidates or therapeutic treatments.
The SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein harbors a furin/PC cleavage site at the boundary between the S1/S2 subunits, which could be cleaved by furin and/or furin-like PCs secreted from host cells and bacteria in the airway epithelium. Unlike the first SARS-CoV, cell entry of SARS-CoV-2 is pre-activated by furin and/or furin-like PCs, reducing its dependence on target cell proteases for entry. The cleavage activation of S-protein is well demonstrated to be essential for SARS-CoV-2 spike-mediated viral binding to ACE2, cell-to-cell fusion, and viral entry into human lung cells.
The first of the two kits by EpiGentek, CoviDrop(TM) SARS-CoV-2 Targeted Proprotein Convertase Inhibitor Screening Fast Kit (Catalog No. D-1006), screens for inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 targeted furin and PCs. It is an ELISA-like procedure which can be completed within 2 hours. By using a SARS-CoV-2 specific substrate which is proven to be the same as the complete trimeric form of full length SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in our tests with this kit, the SARS-coV-2 furin site was found to be cleaved not only by furin but also by other serine proteases such as plasmin and human airway trypsin (HAT).
The second kit, CoviDrop(TM) SARS-CoV-2 Targeted Proprotein Convertase Activity/Inhibition Assay Kit (Catalog No. D-1007), quantitatively measures the activity or inhibition levels of furin or furin-like PC as well as facilitated proteases in biological samples such as nasal swabs. It is also similarly ELISA-based and needs only 50 minutes from start to finish.
“These highly demanded products enable academic and biotechnology to have a much-needed novel approach towards rapidly identifying prevention and therapy initiatives of SARS-CoV-2,” said William Lee, EpiGentek’s Chief Operating Officer.
The CoviDrop(TM) kits are unique in the market and may be a key tool in better understanding of infection mechanisms and discovery of potent inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2. EpiGentek has also recently released a series of other assay kits to rapidly detect SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies and measure spike-ACE2 binding activity or inhibition. Visit https://www.epigentek.com/catalog/covid-19-assays-c-162.html for more information about these products as well as related antibodies and proteins.
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