Proteolytic activation of the SARS-coronavirus spike protein: Cutting enzymes at the cutting edge of antiviral research. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) pandemic revealed that zoonotic transmission of animal coronaviruses (CoV) to humans poses a significant threat to public health and warrants surveillance and the development of countermeasures. The activity of host cell proteases, which cleave and activate the SARS-CoV spike (S) protein, is essential for viral infectivity and constitutes a target for intervention. However, the identities of the proteases involved have been unclear.
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