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COVID-19 breakthrough: Antiviral drug treatment against coronavirus using “Gene Silencing” technology

A team of scientists in Queensland give the world a big hope for returning to normal by making a breakthrough in their research to develop a gene-silencing antiviral that kill coronavirus effectively.

The research is promising effective treatments that can be made available to treat who are extremely sick from the COVID-19, or those who may perhaps be in danger of being exposed to the virus.

Gene-silencing RNA technology is used to destroy the COVID-19 virus genome directly and stops the virus replicating. Treatment with virus-specific siRNA (silence-inducing RNA), reduces viral load by 99.9%. These stealth nanoparticles can be delivered to a wide range of lung cells and silence viral genes. Professor McMillan called it a “seek and destroy mission” where the therapy genetically targeted the deadly coronavirus. It is an injectable antiviral that will be injected daily into someone in ICU for four or five days, or as a single injection for someone just exposed. The injection will send the nanoparticles through the blood stream to attack the virus. It travels to the lungs and it will enter all the lung cells, but only in the lung cells with the virus will it destroy — normal cells are completely unharmed by this treatment.

“It causes the genome to be destroyed and the virus can’t grow anymore — so we inject the nanoparticles and they go and find the virus and destroy it just like a heat-seeking missile.”

Professor McMillan said that the therapy could reduce the amount of virus in the lungs by 99.9 per cent, “so it is almost as good as a cure”.

The treatment could be available as early as 2023, depending on the outcomes of the next phase of clinical trials.