Covid-19, toward a universal therapy

A study by Oregon State University researchers
Messenger RNA used in lipid nanoparticles

Gaurav Sahay, a pharmaceutical science researcher at the Oregon State University together with his team composed by Jeonghwan Kim, Antony Jozic, Anindit Mukherjee and Dylan Nelson (Oregon State University), and Kevin Chiem, Siddiqur Rahman Khan Jordi B. Torrelles and Luis Martinez-Sobrido (Texas Biomedical Research Institute) conducted a study proving the effectiveness first evidence of the of a new “universal” means of treating Covid.

Published in the journal Advanced Science (full text here), the study highlights how, using messenger RNA packaged in lipid nanoparticles, host cells can produce a “decoy” enzyme that can bind to Coronavirus spike proteins. This process should prevent the virus from being able to stick to the host airways cells and thus initiate the infection process. Messenger RNA administration can be both intravenous and through inhalation, proving to be the preferred method.

In order to solve the problem of the hACE2 enzyme short half-life, researchers designed a synthetic mRNA to encode a soluble form of it by packaging the mRNA in lipid nanoparticles and finally delivering it to liver cells by IV. Two hours later, the enzyme was already in the bloodstream of the test animals (mice) on which the experiment was being performed and remained there for days. Moreover, scientists administered lipid nanopatricles by inhalation, stimulating the epithelial cells in the lungs to secrete soluble hACE2.