The researchers successfully blocked the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus in infected human cells using CRISPR genome editing technology.
A study published in the journal Nature Communications could pave the way for coronavirus treatment.
CRISPR / Cas9 “genetic scissors” technology, as the most important tool, also promises to treat diseases such as HIV or sickle cell disease and strengthen basic medical knowledge, and unequal access could consolidate global differences.
CRISPR, which allows scientists to alter DNA sequences and alter genetic function, has already promised to eliminate the genetic coding that drives the development of childhood cancer.
The scientists used the enzyme CRISPR-Cas13b, which binds to the corresponding RNA sequences on the new coronavirus and breaks down the genome it needs to multiply in human cells.
Lead author Sharon Lewin of the Australian Institute of Infection and Immunity Peter Doherty said the group has developed a CRISPR tool to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the COVID-19 virus.
“Once the virus is recognized, the CRISPR enzyme is activated and the virus shreds,” she said.
“We targeted several parts of the virus, parts that are very stable and unchanging, and parts that are very variable, and they all cut the virus very well.”
The technician also managed to stop the replication of viruses in samples of so-called “worrying variants” such as Alpha.
Although some Covid-19 vaccines are already on the market, the treatment options available are still relatively rare and only partially effective.
The WHO set up a group of gene editing experts that was set up in late 2018 after a Chinese scientist said he edited the twins ’genes to make them resistant to HIV infection.
(With agency inputs)