Newly discovered class of RNA can fight multiple viruses

In the basic version of genetics in textbooks, DNA is the double helix that carries the genetic blueprints, and single-stranded RNA carries the messages from DNA.

But, as always with biology, this doesn’t come close to telling the full story.

Not only do some viruses skip DNA completely and Use only RNA, but, in fact, the RNA itself is not always single-stranded. Some viruses such as rotaa pest of children everywhere, carries its code in double-stranded RNA, or dsRNA.

Because the immune system sees dsRNA as a big flash Virus is here!! A marker, dsRNA stimulates the body to release protective chemicals called interferon (IFN). This provides a unique opportunity.

Not all RNAs are single-stranded. Some viruses carry their code in double-stranded RNA.

Balance: Scientists are looking to harness this ability to use dsRNA as an antiviral. But the risks of this must be properly weighed, because if the immune system begins to overheat, its response may become more dangerous than the pathogen itself.

Now, researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have discovered a new class of dsRNA that uses the correct types of interferons (IFN-I and IFN-III), while reducing inflammation.

When tested in humansdevice chipsAnd mice, according to their paperRNA has also shown the ability to fight a wide range of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, SARS classic, and influenza.

“I hope this RNA therapeutic technology, whose chemical and physical properties make it easily manufacturable at large scales, will become a widely used method for controlling epidemics in the future,” said Wyss Don Ingber, founding director and study author. He said.

Developing our lesson: In previous studies of how the immune system fights the flu, researchers found what they thought might be a new type of RNA, dsRNA, which activated a new way to excite IFNs.

To find out exactly how it works, the team created and tested more than 200 copies of dsRNA. What they found was a specific structural abnormality in the dsRNA dsRNA that triggered IFN production.

To measure the antiviral potential of the RNA, the team — along with colleagues at the University of Maryland and New York University — pitted it against several pathogens in organ chips — designed to replicate complex lung systems — and in mice.

Because the immune system sees dsRNA as a big blink.”Virus is here!!Scientists are looking to use it as an antiviral.

When dsRNA was administered to healthy organ chips, it boosted IFN-I production by 12-40-fold. When influenza A was added to the chips, the dsRNA suppressed the infection by 80–90%.

After the pandemic began, researchers challenged their antiviral candidate with the coronavirus, including the coronaviruses behind COVID-19, SARS, MERS and the common cold.

In the monkey-derived cell lines, dsRNA suppressed MERS and cold virus by more than 90%, and performed better against the original SARS. When they tested it in human cell strains against SARS-CoV-2, it prevented infection by 99.9%.

For a final test, the team turned to a mouse model of COVID-19, along with a team at the University of Tennessee. When mice were treated with dsRNA, they reduced the viral load in their lungs by a thousand times compared to control mice, which received only mixed double-stranded RNA sequences.

“These novel RNAs (dsRNAs) are an attractive treatment option for COVID-19 because SARS-CoV-2 infection produces an unbalanced immune response in which the protective IFN reactivity is suppressed while the inflammatory reactivity is elevated,” Haiqing Bai, co-first author of the study book , He said.

“By preferentially increasing IFN-I, our dsRNA has the potential to correct this imbalance, and can be used to treat many other viral diseases as well.”

The new dsRNA was able to suppress many viruses.

Extensive weapon: In addition to helping fight various other viruses, the team believes that dsRNA’s immune capabilities can help treat infections from other pathogens, such as parasites and bacteria, and even other conditions like cancer and autoimmune diseases — essentially, anything that contains more The right kind of IFN can help.

However, there is work to be done before they get there. Finding the right time to introduce the tRNA will be crucial: doing so too late may trigger an out-of-control immune response they hope to avoid.

If all of that works, getting broad-based antiviral treatment can be a very important public health tool.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we need large-scale therapies capable of attenuating infection with a wide range of viruses,” Ingber said, rather than developing a personalized treatment for each disease as it emerges. “

We love to hear from you! If you have a comment about this article or if you have advice regarding a future Freethink story, please email us at [email protected]

Leave a Comment