Biologists from Australia have applied genetic engineering to suppress the reproduction of a new type of coronavirus in human cell culture. As writes information edition Nature Communications, the new method of suppressing replication SARS-CoV-2 will help in the fight against the pandemic.
The discovery is based on the results of a study conducted by specialists at the Peter McCallum Cancer Center in Melbourne in 2019. At that time, the scientists used CRISPR gene editing to remove abnormal RNA sites that provoke cancer in children. Now, teaming up with collaborators at the Peter Dougherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne, the scientists have proven that such a method is also suitable for combating coronavirus replication.
“The CRISPR-Cas13b enzyme binds to target RNAs and destroys a part of the genome without which viral replication cannot occur within cells. We tested the new method on an infected cell culture of human cells. The test showed that the method can effectively suppress the replication of different strains of SARS-CoV-2 – including those that are considered the most dangerous,” the Australian biologists say.
Now scientists want to test the new tool on animals, and then on humans. It is expected that the method will become a very relevant tool to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.