The number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 grows daily, with over half of adults in the U.S. fully vaccinated. Despite this progress, thousands of new COVID-19 infections are reported every day worldwide. Treatment options for those with serious COVID-19 illness remain limited, and there is still no complete cure.
A new drug in development directly targets the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Researchers at City of Hope and Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ) at Griffith Univ. in Australia designed short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that bind to the viral genome and prevent gene expression, greatly decreasing the viral load in mice infected with COVID-19.
Coronaviruses like SARS-CoV-2 have genomes consisting entirely of RNA. Previous studies showed that RNA-based viruses are vulnerable to RNA interference, a technique that uses small RNA molecules known to bind to viral genomes and block gene expression.
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