Psyche! Decoy receptors trick COVID-19

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are exploring whether decoy receptors can trick the coronavirus into binding to imposter receptors instead of their intended targets. The ultimate goal is to create a preventative therapy for humans.

The Illinois team, led by assistant professor of biochemistry Erik Procko, has identified a decoy candidate that can bind tightly with the coronaviruses that cause COVID and SARS in primate cells in the lab.

Scientists believe that they’ll one day crack the code for decoy receptors and it’ll make a huge difference. That’s because antibody cocktails designed to fight COVID-19 are vulnerable to the virus’ ability to mutate, making decoy receptors more reliable in the long run.