Advanced Technology (CRISPR) Shows That Mucus Is Your Body’s First Line Of Defense Against Viruses

This story on CRISPR is part of an extended series on Regenerative Medicine. For other stories on this topic see and search for Regenerative Medicine. My definition of Regenerative Medicine is any medical modality that returns us to normal health when we are damaged by disease, injured by trauma, disadvantaged by birth, or worn by time. Modalities include: chemicals, genes, proteins and cells used as drugs, gene editing, prosthetics, and mind-machine interfaces. 

One of the key mysteries of SARS-CoV-2 is why it seems to infect some people more seriously than others. While vaccines have provided much-needed protection against the virus, there is still a need to develop better drugs to treat those who do become infected.

A primary method to develop drugs that fight viral infection is to determine what a virus needs to replicate in the body. Up until now, most studies have focused solely on SARS-CoV-2 and its own methods of attack. However, infections require cooperation between the human body’s cells along with the virus. In fact, viruses rely on many cellular structures within the host cells to replicate.

So how can we decode SARS-CoV-2 and its interactions with our own bodies? One way to do this is to conduct a systematic study of all the genes in cells that are known to interact with SARS-CoV-2. By inhibiting the majority of genes while leaving some active, scientists can pinpoint exactly which genes and cellular structures affect SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Fortunately, with a new gene-editing tool called CRISPR, researchers at U.C. Berkeley were able to do just that. After conducting a study of genes found in lung cells, Biering et al. discovered a naturally occurring protein in the body that may have the ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infections. This study is the first to examine how SARS-CoV-2 interacts with human lung cells, marking a critical advancement in SARS-CoV-2 research.

Read the original article on Forbes.

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.