Virus fighting a virus: a possible epidemic treatment?


Ali Awad wrote in Al-Akhbar:

The drug “Remsedevir” developed by the American company “Gilead” (and previously failed to treat the Ebola virus) seems promising in treating people with the Corona virus, according to an article published by the Nature website, referring to the results of the tests conducted on a person with SARS-Cove- 2 “In Washington it was positive,” but it is unclear whether the drug will be effective when used in people with HIV. She attributed this to the fact that these people may be infected with different forms of the virus, after an analysis of 19 samples of the virus taken from infected people from China, Australia and the United States showed a difference in the sequence of the virus. In other words, not all people with Corona have the same virus form. The researchers explained that «the evidence from patient samples indicates that the SARS-Cove-2 virus is gaining new mutations that may enable it to resist antiviral drugs, which raises a real challenge to the development of traditional drugs and vaccines. This limitation applies to other deadly “RNA” viruses, such as “SARS” or “Respiratory Syndrome of the Middle East”, “Myers”.

The solution, according to the research paper, is contained in a new medical technology: CRISPR-Cas13d, a technique that allows scientists to modify genes. A type of this technique that allows DNA modification has been tried by a Chinese biophysicist, Gyaku, who announced the genetic modification of embryos implanted in two Chinese women, one of whom gave birth to twin babies in late 2018. This scientist argues that these modifications were designed To disable a gene encoding a protein that allows HIV to enter immune cells, and what he did was to protect these genetically modified humans from HIV. But the People’s Court of Nanshan Province in Shenzhen, China, fined the world the sum of 430,000 dollars, while two associates were sentenced to three years in prison for making genetic modifications to humans.

Unlike “CRISPR-Cas9” which aims to modify the DNA, “CRISPR-Cas13d” targets the RNA, and the latter have different biological roles in coding, decoding, organizing and expressing genes. Because SARS-Cove-2 is a strain of Corona viruses — RNAs, not DNA — the CRISPR-Cas13d technique may be a solution to eradicating the new disease. but how? This technology will target and “eat” the RNA inside the virus, limiting its ability to reproduce. In order to disable the virus, researchers will use gRNA, a guided RNA, that targets parallel virus crowns and its reproductive enzyme. The researchers say that this unique feature in the “CRISPR-Cas13d” technology, meets the requirements of the rapid development of directed RNA, to target different types of viruses that develop and can “escape” from conventional drugs, which makes this technology more effective to get rid of viruses and prevent Drug resistance. The researchers conclude that CRISPR-Cas13d technology, a new, direct, flexible and rapid approach, is likely to be a treatment and anti-infection in different RNA viruses. However, future studies are needed that determine the safety and effectiveness of this system in eliminating the SARS-Cove-2 virus and other viruses in animal models before they are applied to humans.


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