Dr. David Ho #AsianPacificAmericanHeritageMonth #APAHM #AAPIHM
Having made incredibly significant contributions to HIV/AIDS research, Dr. David Ho is currently the Director and CEO of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center. Scientists/Virologists from this center partner with hospitals such as Columbia University to do cutting edge work on new HIV drugs and vaccines.
In light of current events, Dr. David Ho’s important work has returned to the spotlight yet again. Like many doctors across the country and the world, Dr. Ho has currently shifted his focus to learning about COVID-19.
We know that your team at Columbia University is working on strategies to cure and prevent the coronavirus in the future, what can you tell us about your work?
We’re trying to do a number of things. First, we’re trying to find drugs that block the replication of COVID-19 and we’re going after two critical sites in the virus. The virus needs some of these important enzymes to replicate and one of them is called protease, which is a chemical scissor that cuts the viral proteins from big chunks to smaller pieces, which can then fit into the virus particle itself. And somehow, if you’re able to use a drug to gum up this chemical scissor, then the virus can no longer cut the proteins, and therefore the progenies that are made by the virus will be dead. And so we can interrupt the replication cycle that way.
Another target is what we call polymerase, which is the enzyme the virus uses to replicate its genetic material. So, in this case, it’s RNA to more RNA, and we can find drugs that will inhibit that copying of the genetic information.
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