Researchers from City of Hope, a research center based in California, and Griffith University in Australia, have collaborated to create a new experimental antiviral therapy that can treat COVID-19. The therapeutic consists of small interfering RNA molecules (siRNAs) encapsulated within lipid nanoparticles. When delivered to the bloodstream, nanoparticles travel to the lungs. There, siRNA is released into infected cells and proceeds to bind and alter the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has evolved over the past year and, with ongoing vaccination campaigns, many people now have protection against the virus. However, it will still be some time before enough people worldwide are vaccinated to achieve anything that comes close to herd immunity. The new viral variants also offer sleepless nights to governments around the world, as there is always the risk that the virus will evolve to prevent the protective immunity afforded by our current vaccines.
In any case, we seem to be in this struggle for quite some time, so new technologies that help us treat infected patients are welcome. The latter nanotechnology conforms to the law and is very specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Gene silence technology consists of siRNA that is charged to lipid nanoparticles, intended to protect siRNA in the bloodstream and deliver it to the lungs where it can enter infected cells.
The siRNA then binds to the genetic material of the virus, resulting in its destruction and breaking the viral replication cycle. To date, nanoparticles have been tested in mice. “Virus-specific siRNA treatment reduces viral load by 99.9%. These stealthy nanoparticles can be administered to a wide range of lung cells and silence viral genes, “said Nigel McMillan, a researcher involved in the study, in a press release.” Treatment with therapy in mice SARS-Cov-2 infected improved survival and disease loss. Surprisingly, no viruses could be detected in the lungs in the treated survivors. “
Excitingly, the technology can be useful against new variants of the virus, and is also suitable for long-term storage, a key attribute for widespread use and adoption. “This treatment is designed to work on all beta-coronaviruses such as the original SARS virus (SARS-CoV-1), as well as SARS-CoV-2 and any new variants that may arise in the future because it targets ultra regions. -conserved genome of the virus, “said Kevin Morris, another researcher involved in the study. “We have also shown that these nanoparticles are stable at 4 ° C for 12 months and at room temperature for more than a month, which means that this agent could be used in low-resource environments to treat infected patients,” McMillan added.
Watch a video on the technology below.
Study a Molecular therapy: A SARS-CoV-2 directed siRNA-nanoparticle therapy for COVID-19
Via: City of Hope