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In this video, we’re joined by Dr. Zoran Radic, Professor at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science at University of California in San Diego (UCSD). We discuss a recent study in which the researchers used molecular dynamics simulations to examine the nicotinic hypothesis – primarily by looking at whether the SARS-CoV-2 S-protein can stably bind to nAChRs via the Y674-R685 region.

In a nutshell, the findings reported in that study support the hypothesis that the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein can indeed interact with nAChRs.

Based on the current scientific literature and on new epidemiological data which reveal that current smoking status appears to be a protective factor against the infection by SARS-CoV-2, researchers hypothesize that the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) plays a key role in the pathophysiology of COVID-19 infection and might represent a target for the prevention and control of COVID-19 infection.

Papers discussed:

Oliveira et al. (2020). Simulations support the interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and suggest subtype specificity. BioRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.16.206680
Changeux et al. (2020). A nicotinic hypothesis for Covid-19 with preventive and therapeutic implications. Preprint. https://doi.org/10.32388/FXGQSB

Changeux JP. (2018). The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor: a typical ‘allosteric machine’. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2017.0174

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