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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 258-264

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 virus-like particle and its application in Chinese medical research

1 Institute of Basic Theory for Chinese Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China
2 Department of Nephroendocrine, Dongzhimen Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Ning Li
Institute of Basic Theory for Chinese Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wjtcm.wjtcm_55_20

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Background: The global outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has brought disastrous consequences to public health and medical systems, whereas no approved medications are currently available. Benefits of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) against COVID -19 have been observed, however, the underlying mechanistic actions remain unclarified. Due to high pathogenicity and infectivity of the new coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2]), the lack of access to SARS-CoV-2 and biosafety level 3 (P3) facilities has impeded scientific investigations of TCM against COVID-19. Though low-pathogenic coronavirus and pseudoviral systems have been applied to substitute SARS-CoV-2 in fundamental studies, both models cannot imitate virological and clinical features associated with SARS-CoV-2. The virus -like particle (VLP) is a virological model that is safe and could be performed without biosafety protections. Aims and Objectives: To construct VLP of SARS-CoV-2 containing structural proteins of authentic viruses and resembling the morphology, partial life cycle, and immunoreactions of natural virions, and to introduce VLP into Chinese medical research. Materials and Methods: Using mammalian expression system, we have currently constructed SARS-CoV-2 VLP containing four essential structural proteins. Results: Based on this model, we propose six aspects of research that could be carried out for TCM formulas in the fight against COVID-19. Conclusion: Application of the VLP model provides a safe methodology to strengthen the response systems of Chinese medicine in preventing and controlling newly identified infectious diseases and offers collaborative opportunities for interdisciplinary deciphering of molecular and biological basis of anti-viral TCM formulas.

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