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Radcliffe Department of Medicine's Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya has been working with a UK-based biotechnology firm to find out if his research on the ‘pharmacological goldmine’ in tick saliva might offer a treatment option for COVID-10 patients.

Close up photo of adult female deer tick crawling on a piece of straw

Professor Bhattacharya’s work has found that tick saliva could potentially yield many new drugs which could treat disorders ranging from cardiovascular diseases and stroke to arthritis. His research group has identified a group of tick saliva proteins called evasins, which bind to and neutralise chemokines, a group of chemicals key to causing inflammation in the body.

The researchers also worked out the structural trick that enables tick evasins to block a complex pathway that has multiple routes to the same response. What’s more, they can manipulate this structure to make new, custom-made proteins, producing developed triple headed evasins – essentially combining three different types of evasins to maximise the absorption of chemokine messengers responsible for inflammation in the lungs and circulatory system.

Read more on the Radcliffe Department of Medicine website

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