The spread of the coronavirus can be stopped with the Crispr method

Researchers successfully stopped the coronavirus from multiplying in a study. This was achieved with the Crispr method.

the essentials in brief

  • According to a study, the coronavirus can be stopped from multiplying in a cell.
  • The researchers used the Crispr method to do this.
  • So far, however, this has only been tested under laboratory conditions.

Australian scientists have succeeded in stopping the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus from multiplying in an infected cell. This is done using a method based on the Crispr gene scissors.

This is the result of a study published on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. In the long term, this could improve the treatment of Covid 19 patients. According to Sharon Lewin’s team from the Australian Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.

The scientists used a form of the Crispr gene scissors, with which parts of the genetic material can be cut out and replaced. For their experiments under laboratory conditions, they used the enzyme Crispr / Cas13b. This binds certain RNA sequences of the coronavirus. And switches off the part that the virus needs to replicate in the infected cell.

“As soon as the virus is recognized, the Crispr enzyme is activated and cuts the virus,” said Lewin. According to her, the method works both for parts of the virus that are “very stable and do not change”. As well as with those «who are highly changeable».

Crispr method against propagation also works with variants

The technology has also proven to be effective with virus variants such as the alpha mutant. So far, however, the Crispr method has only been tested against propagation under laboratory conditions. The team now hopes to be able to try them out on animals.

So far, there are only a few and only partially effective treatment options for Covid-19. “We still need better treatments for people who are in hospital for Covid-19,” said Lewin. “Our current options are limited here and reduce the risk of death by 30 percent at best.”

The use of the Crispr method in general medicine is probably still “years, not months” away, said Lewin. Nevertheless, it could prove useful in the fight against Corona.

According to the researcher, the ideal treatment would be a simple antiviral drug that is taken as soon as possible after a positive corona test. This to prevent a severe course. According to Lewin, the researchers hope that their findings will contribute to the development of such a cheap, oral drug.

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