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Michael Toney and Dan Cox/UC Davis

UC Davis Researchers Adapt Amyloid Technology to Catch Coronavirus

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Two researchers at the University of California, Davis, are adapting their technology for amyloid-based, self-organizing protein scaffolds to combat coronavirus. They hope the technique could be used in diagnostic tests or for virus-neutralizing masks and other protective equipment.

Daniel Cox, professor of physics, and Michael Toney, professor of chemistry, are inventors of a patented technique for using beta amyloid proteins to grow tiny fibrils. The plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions are described as beta amyloid proteins. The researchers used antifreeze proteins with a similar structure to make their fibrils.

The artificial fibrils act like scaffolds and can be engineered to create new materials with specific functions. Cox and Toney developed the technology for applications such as nanowires and biomaterials. Now their goal is to capture the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

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