Instead of doing our best to stay away from COVID-19 infection through the classical methods, such as avoiding crowds, wear a mask, or frequently washing our hands, it would be great for the doctors to come up with more and more ways of treating the disease.
According to France24, a team of scientists came up with the idea of using CRISPR gene-editing technology for blocking the transmission of the coronavirus to infected human cells. By using the technology, scientists have the possibility to alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Not only that the method was successful, but it also has the potential of paving the way for COVID treatments.
An enzyme that “chops up the virus”
The research team used the CRISPR-Cas13b enzyme, one that binds to RNA sequences on the virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease and degrades the genome it needs replicating inside human cells.
Sharon Lewin, the lead author from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity of Australia, explained for AFP how it all works:
Once the virus is recognised, the CRISPR enzyme is activated and chops up the virus,
We targeted several parts of the virus -– parts that are very stable and don’t change and parts that are highly changeable — and all worked very well in chopping up the virus.
Lewin also admitted, as quoted by France24:
We still need better treatments for people who are hospitalised for Covid,
Our current choices here are limited and at best they reduce the risk of death by 30 percent.
According to worldometers.info, there had been over 188.4 million infections and more than 4 million deaths caused by COVID-19 worldwide. Luckily enough, more than 172.1 million patients infected with the coronavirus had been recovered.