A group of researchers from Griffith University in Australia, together with the American research center City of Hope, developed a type of nucleoside antiviral to treat Covid-19. The tests were carried out with mice and the treatment reduced the viral load in the animals' lungs by 99,9%.

The study used the tech called siRNA, also known as small interference RNA, with a focus on attacking the virus genome directly and thus preventing its replication.

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Through a video, researcher Nigel McMillan, professor and director of the Griffith University Infectious Diseases and Immunology Program, explained that the technology works with small pieces of RNA that can bind to the genome of the virus and makes the genome "no longer work" and the cells destroy it.

“RNA drugs need to be delivered in something called nanoparticles. Then we inject it into the bloodstream and the nanoparticles go into the lungs and fuse into the cells, delivering the RNA. RNA searches for the virus and destroys its genome, so the virus can no longer replicate, ”said the researcher.

He clarified that the process is “incredibly specific” for the virus, so normal cells do not suffer side effects: “Treatment with virus-specific siRNA reduces the viral load by 99,9%. These stealthy nanoparticles can be delivered to a wide range of lung cells and silence viral genes. ”

According to McMillan, the use of therapy in mice infected with the Covid-19 virus significantly increased the animals' survival.

The research concluded that the results indicate that siRNA nanoparticle formulations can be developed as a therapy to treat human patients with Covid-19 and would work against other types of coronavirus.

"Like the original SARS virus (SARS-CoV-1), as well as SARS-CoV-2 and any new variants that may arise in the future," said Kevin Morris, a researcher at City of Hope and Griffith University.

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In addition, scientists say the production of nanoparticles is "relatively economical". However, therapy still needs to go through more testing steps before it is actually evaluated by health regulators.

Source: The Globe

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