Academia Sinica yesterday said that it has identified protease inhibitors for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that could eventually lead to the development of targeted drugs to stop it from replicating.
Proteases — enzymes that break down proteins — are catalysts in a range of biological processes. They are often essential for the completion of a viral infection cycle.
Protease inhibitors, which can be naturally occurring or synthetic, block viral replication. They are common in treatments for HIV and hepatitis C.
A team led by Liang Po-huang (梁博煌), a research fellow at the Institute of Biological Chemistry, has identified potent inhibitors of the virus’ main protease from more than 100 candidates, Academia Sinica said in a press release.
In in vitro tests, the best of the inhibitors was about 10 times more effective than other candidates in preventing the virus from replicating, it said.
Animal and human trials are required before the inhibitors can be turned into drugs to treat COVID-19, but finding potential inhibitors in such a short time demonstrates Taiwan’s ability to respond to the pandemic, it said.
“We look forward to providing an option for targeted drugs in the near future,” Academia Sinica said.
In February, Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智) launched the COVID-19 Open Science Platform to promote collaborative research against the disease.
To date, the effort has resulted in the synthesis of remdesivir, a drug being used in clinical trials, and the production of antibodies with potential applications in rapid COVID-19 testing, Academia Sinica said.
Centers for Disease Control Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said at the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) daily news briefing that it welcomes any breakthroughs in COVID-19 research.
The CECC would gather information about the researchers’ progress, Chou said, adding that he hopes treatments to ease the pandemic would be launched soon.
Additional reporting by Lin Chia-nan
Taiwan from Thursday is to reinstate visa exemptions for passport holders from 65 countries. Mandatory quarantine for arriving travelers is to be lifted on Oct. 13 , when restrictions on inbound and outbound tour groups are also to be lifted. The following is a list of answers to common questions regarding how the new regulations are to affect inbound international visitors Which passports will have visa-free entry privileges? Eleven more countries on Thursday are to join 54 countries that were given visa-free privileges on Sept. 12. Passport holders from Japan, South Korea, Chile, Israel and Nicaragua can stay in Taiwan for up to 90 days without a visa. Taiwan is also to resume 30-day visa-free stays for citizens of the Dominican Republic, Singapore and Malaysia. Passport holders from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines are to be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 14 days visa-free. Taiwan on Sept. 12 resumed 90-day visa-free entry for passport holders from the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New
PRIDE AND FURY: Supporters of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party sang in Tainan, while Taiwan loyalists in Kaohsiung vowed to ‘protect Taiwan until death’ Two small Taiwanese groups at the far ends of the debate over relations with Beijing marked the National Day of the People’s Republic of China yesterday with flag raisings and flag burnings — opposite responses at a time of rising tension over the Taiwan Strait. Oct. 1 marks the day that Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, with the defeated Republic of China government fleeing to Taiwan at the end of that year, where — after democratic reforms — it remains to this day, neither recognizing the other. China’s national day is not officially marked in any
VOICING SUPPORT: The German ambassador to the US said that the country should not allow China to move goalposts to isolate Taiwan or break international law Relations with Germany continue to warm as German-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group chairman Klaus-Peter Willsch, leading a six-person delegation, left Germany for a six-day visit to Taiwan yesterday. The visit is yet another move by Berlin this year in support of Taiwan. The German Bundestag in May unanimously passed a resolution to support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO as an observer. German Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach added his support for Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Assembly this year. German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock in August voiced support for Taiwan in light of Beijing’s military response to US
A scooter owner is under investigation for using a sticker bearing the words “Tainan City Government Police Bureau Patrol Vehicle” on his scooter. Tainan Police Department’s Yongkang Precinct said in a press release on Thursday that it received a report about a photograph of a food delivery scooter with the sticker being shared on social media. Police launched an investigation and spotted the electric scooter on Chungcheng Road in the city’s Yongkang District (永康). The scooter owner, surnamed Kao (高), said he had bought the sticker online and put it on his scooter because he thought it was fun and special, police