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Scientists develop mechanism to inactivate Covid by blocking entry to cells



 Scientists have developed a design of a new class of synthetic peptides that can not only block the entry of SARS-CoV-2 virus entry into cells but also clump the virions (virus particles) together, reducing their ability to infect.

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), in collaboration with researchers from the CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology, have made use of this approach to design peptides that can bind to and block the spike protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus, said the Ministry of Science and Technology on Wednesday.

This binding was further characterised extensively by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and other biophysical methods. This novel approach provides an alternative mechanism to render viruses like SARS-CoV-2 inactive, promising a new class of peptides as antivirals.

The research was supported under the Covid-19 IRPHA call of SERB Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The designed peptides are helical, hairpin-shaped, each capable of pairing up with another of its kind, forming what is known as a dimer. Each dimeric ‘bundle’ presents two ‘faces’ to interact with two target molecules.

In the study published in Nature Chemical Biology, the researchers hypothesised that the two faces would bind to two separate target proteins locking all four in a complex and blocking the targets’ action. The team decided to test their hypothesis by using a peptide called SIH-5 to target the interaction between the Spike (S) protein of SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 protein, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor in human cells.

The S protein is a trimer – a complex of three identical polypeptides. Each polypeptide contains a Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) that binds to the ACE2 receptor on the host cell surface. This interaction facilitates viral entry into the cell.

The SIH-5 peptide was designed to block the binding of the RBD to human ACE2. When a SIH-5 dimer encountered an S protein, one of its faces bound tightly to one of the three RBDs on the S protein trimer, and the other face bound to an RBD from a different S protein.

This ‘cross-linking’ allowed the SIH-5 to block both S proteins at the same time. Under cryo-EM, the S proteins targeted by SIH-5 appeared to be attached head-to-head, and the spike proteins were being forced to form dimers.

Subsequently, the researchers showed that SIH-5 inactivated the viruses efficiently by cross-linking the spike proteins from different virus particles.

The team consisting of B Khatri, I Pramanick, SK Malladi, RS Rajmani, P Ghosh, N Sengupta, R Varadarajan, S Dutta and J Chatterjee from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), R Rahisuddin, S Kumar, N Kumar, S Kumaran and RP Ringe from CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology, tested the peptide for toxicity in mammalian cells in the lab and found it to be safe.

When hamsters were dosed with the peptide and subsequently exposed to a high dose of SARS-CoV-2, they showed decreased viral load as well as much less cell damage in the lungs compared to hamsters exposed only to the virus, demonstrating the promise of this class of peptides as antivirals.

The researchers believe that with minor modifications and peptide engineering, this lab-made miniprotein could inhibit other protein-protein interactions as well.


Massive Storm Of Dust As Two Multi-Storied Buildings Come Crashing Down In Controlled Demolition At Hyderabad IT Park




Hyderabad: Two multi-storied buildings in a leading IT park in Hyderabad were demolished on Saturday. Buildings 7 and 8 in Raheja Mindspace IT Park in Madhapur were demolished to construct new buildings in their place.

Huge storm of dust

Video clips of controlled demolitions were widely circulated on social media. The demolitions raised a huge storm of dust. It took all precautions to protect other multi-storied structures in the IT Park from any damage.

Controlled demolitions

Latest technology was used to raze G+4 buildings early in the morning. Edifice and Jet Demolition carried out controlled demolitions.

The IT Park is located at the heart of Hyderabad Information Technology and Engineering Consultancy (Hitec) City, the IT hub. The park houses several IT giants and a five-star hotel.

The buildings were reportedly demolished due to some technical issues. The developer plans to construct new structures which are likely to be completed in three-four years.

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Mumbai Press Exclusive News

Complaint about lapse in safety & security of women & small children devotees in Lalbagh Raja’s pandal was lodged with Mumbai Police Commissioner




A complaint has been filed before the Mumbai Police Commissioner by Bombay High Court Advocate Ashish Rai, Pankaj Mishra about the day-to-day incidents happening with helpless children, women and elderly couples in the pandal of “Lalbaugcha Raja”.
In the complaint, mainly the inhuman acts being done to the general visitors and the negligence in the constitutional security arrangements due to the irresponsible management attitude of the Maharashtra State Administration, Mumbai Police Administration and the local pandal manager have been strongly raised.
It has been demanded in the complaint that, under Article 14 of the Right to Equality of the Constitution, equal security arrangements should be provided by the police administration of Maharashtra State without any discrimination between the VIPs and ordinary visitors.
During the darshan of the king of Lalbagh, on the arrival of any special guest or person, proper arrangements should be made to allow the common visitors to have darshan without any hindrance.

Further mention that in this complaint Under Article 21 of the Constitution, strong arrangements for security and facilities should be made for helpless children, women and elderly couples so that any untoward incident can be prevented from happening in the pandal in future.
Special police administration will be arranged in the pandal to immediately lodge complaints against helpless children, women and senior citizen, use of abusive language or molestation by the volunteer and other workers of the pandal, so that the visitors can avail the special facility of filing complaints. And these facility proper management should be done to guide.
Helpless children, women and elderly couples should be provided facilities under special arrangements during arrival and departure.

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Kulhad Pizza Owner Accuses YouTuber Karan Dutta Of Circulating Viral MMS Video, Says ‘I’m Unable To Step Out Of House’




The proprietors of Kulhad Pizza in Ludhiana have found themselves at the epicenter of social media controversy following the emergence of a ‘private video’ depicting a couple in bed. The video in question was claimed to feature Sehaj Arora, the proprietor of the establishment, and his spouse. However, Arora has vehemently denied these allegations and has lodged a formal complaint with the police.

This pizza establishment in India is situated in Jalandhar, Punjab. The proprietor of the restaurant has asserted that he recently fell victim to blackmail by individuals posing as scammers on Instagram and blamed YouTuber Karan Dutta for masterminding the entire plan.

In an emotional video released on Instagram, Sehaj Arora broke down crying and he requested people not to forward the objectionable video.

Sehaj Arora breaks down on camera

“I won’t delve into whether the video is real or not. Instead, let’s focus on the dire circumstances we find ourselves in. Just two days ago, my wife underwent surgery. Our home, which should have been filled with joy, now bears an atmosphere of despair. We live in uncertainty, unsure of what the future holds,” Sehaj Arora said.

Arora shared the harrowing experience of approaching the police to report an alleged case of blackmail by a woman who demanded a monetary deposit, threatening to disseminate compromising videos to You Tuber Karan Dutta. He revealed that the woman in question has since been arrested by the police.

Arora accuses YouTuber Karan Dutta

In a direct accusation, Arora pointed fingers at YouTuber Karan Dutta, asserting that Dutta was responsible for the viral spread of the video. He lamented the devastating impact it has had on his life and family, stating that he is on the brink of losing everything he has worked hard to build. The ordeal, he added, has placed his family in immense distress.

” I request all of you not to propagate the video any further. Our child was born just four days ago, and my wife is currently in a deeply distressing state, making her care incredibly challenging. What befell us is a situation that could happen to anyone. I humbly request you to imagine yourself in my shoes for a moment,” Sehaj Arora said as he broke down in tears.

YouTuber responds to allegations

YouTuber Karan Dutta has made several videos in the last few days about the Kulhad Couple, the recent being on Friday morning, in which he mocked Sehaj Arora’s allegations against him.

In his video response, Dutta dismissed Arora’s allegations and raised a pertinent question: If Arora possessed this information when he filed a complaint 15 days ago, why did he not mention the woman or include Dutta in the complaint at that time? Dutta further queried the timing of Arora’s reference to him, asserting that he has no connection to the matter.

Dutta said he was the first person to create a video addressing the situation, where he urged people not to harass the couple regarding the alleged video.

Referring to Arora as ‘mentally unstable,’, Dutta questioned why Arora was experiencing a series of unfortunate events despite both of them hailing from Jalandhar and sharing a similar level of fame.

“Do you have any proof? At least tell me name of one person to whom I have sent the video? If you have proof, present it. Or I am going to go file a defamation case against you,” Dutta said.

The Kulhad Pizza couple

The Kulhad Pizza pair, a couple hailing from Jalandhar, initially gained fame for their unique pizza offerings. Their journey into the limelight began when a social media user’s visit to their stall went viral. This sudden online attention led to an influx of customers, including well-known figures in Punjab. However, when the couple resurfaced in the trending spotlight for the second time, questions arose regarding the reasons behind their popularity.

During this resurgence in public interest, a private video featuring the couple was leaked on social media. Nevertheless, in response to this situation, Arora took to his Instagram account to address the issue. He asserted that the clip was generated by artificial intelligence (AI) and provided an update on the actions he had taken in response to the matter.

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