XNAzymes, artificial enzymes that can precisely cut long RNA molecules, could be harnessed to quickly develop antiviral therapies, a new study appearing in Nature Communications says. A University of Cambridge team designed site-specific RNA endonuclease XNAzymes that target different parts of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome. The team reports that they were able to design, synthesis, and screen a number of RNA endonuclease XNAzymes targeting five SARS-CoV-2 sites in about a week. Three of these XNAzymes were further active under physiological conditions and could knockdown the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome both in vitro and in vivo, showing a proof-of-concept of their approach. "It's really encouraging that for the first time – and this has been a big goal of the field – we actually have them working as enzymes inside cells, and inhibiting replication of live virus," first author Pehuén Pereyra Gerber from Cambridge says in a statement. The researchers add that the next step is to optimize the intracellular activity and pharmacokinetic activity of the XNAzymes.
Study Shows Potential for XNAzymes to Knock Down Viruses
Nov 16, 2022