Seebeck-like effect in SARS-CoV-2 bio-thermodynamics

Umberto Lucia, Giulia Grisolia, Thomas S. Deisboeck


The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, relies on a pH decrease to infect the target cell and replicate its RNA. This leads to a change in the electric potential of the cell’s membrane which in turn alters cell functions. Therapeutic intervention should therefore assist these cells in maintaining their natural electric membrane potential so that they can manage normal fluxes of heat and ions which are essential for survival. Results from our thermodynamic approach suggest to employ anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutic strategies that are capable to vary the Gibbs function, related to pH-dependent viral glycoproteins. Our approach lends theoretical credence to the potential benefit of using as starting points drugs such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, while not minimizing their controversial risk profile as described recently in several COVID-19 clinical studies.


Covid; SARS-CoV-2; Biophysics; Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics; Seebeck effect; Transport processes.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Umberto Lucia

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