– Can the coronavirus be cut from infected cells in the future? An Australian research team has now succeeded in doing this in the laboratory. With this method, Covid-19 patients could be treated better in the future.
A research group at the Australian Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne has, according to its own statement, succeeded in stopping the coronavirus from multiplying within an infected cell with the help of the Crispr gene scissors. The scientists published the results of their study in the journal “Nature Communications”. With this method, Covid-19 patients could possibly be treated better in the future.
The researchers used a form of “Crispr” gene scissors, with which parts of the genetic material can be cut out of an infected cell and replaced. In the laboratory, they inserted the enzyme Crispr / Cas13b into a cell infected with SARS-CoV2. This enzyme recognizes the virus, binds to certain RNA sequences and switches off the part that is responsible for the replication of the virus within the cell.
According to the study, this method can reduce the spread of the coronavirus by 98 percent and is also effective with virus variants such as the alpha mutant. Theoretically, the Crispr method can be used against all viruses whose genome is known, write the scientist.
So far, the method has only been tested under laboratory conditions; the next step is to use it on animals. However, what benefit the new findings could then have in the practical treatment of corona patients must first be checked in clinical studies.
According to the study, however, this is still “years, not months” away. According to the researchers, however, it would be an effective treatment method and a first step in the right direction, as there are so far only a few and only partially effective treatment options for Covid-19 patients.