Scientists used CRISPR gene editing technology Blocking the replication of new coronaviruses in human cells — an approach that may one day serve as a new treatment for COVID-19.
However, treatment based on this method may be years ahead, as the study was conducted on laboratory dishes and has not yet been tested in animals or humans.
CRISPR is a tool that allows researchers to edit accurately DNA..It is based on the natural defense system used by bacteria that allows microorganisms to target and destroy genetic material. Virus, Live science previously reported..
The new study was published in the journal on Tuesday (July 13) Nature Communications, Researchers used a CRISPR system to target and destroy strands RNA, Not DNA. Specifically, their system uses an enzyme called Cas13b to cleave RNA single strands, such as those found in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (Cas13b is similar to Cas9, the most commonly used enzyme in CRISPR gene editing technology, but Cas9 cleaves DNA and Cas13b cleaves RNA.)
Researchers have designed CRISPR-Cas13b to target specific sites on the RNA of SARS-CoV-2. When the enzyme binds to RNA, it destroys the part of the virus that is needed for replication. statement From the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center in Victoria, Australia, who collaborated with the study.
“When the virus is recognized, it activates the CRISPR enzyme and chops the virus,” said Dr. Sharon Lewin, principal investigator at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infectious Immunology, University of Melbourne. AFP..
Researchers have also found that their methods work even when new mutations are introduced into the SARS-CoV-2 genome, including those found in alpha. Coronavirus mutant, First discovered in England.
effective COVID-19 vaccine Currently distributed worldwide, the authors state that there remains a “clear and urgent need” for effective treatment of the disease. They said there were “serious concerns” that the virus would evolve to “escape” the current vaccine.
The ideal treatment is an antiviral drug that patients take immediately after being diagnosed with COVID-19. “This approach-testing and treatment-is not feasible without cheap, oral, non-toxic antivirals, which is what we hope to achieve someday with this gene scissors approach,” Lewin said. I told AFP.
New research is the first step towards such a treatment, but it will take years before this method turns into a widely available treatment, AFP reported. Researchers are currently planning to test this method in animal models and eventually conduct clinical trials in people.
Drugs that use CRISPR technology have not yet been approved for the treatment of illnesses, but multiple studies are underway to test people’s CRISPR-based therapies for the treatment of various illnesses. cancer And HIV..
Originally published in Live Science.