CRISPR technology to target RNA viruses like coronavirus

A group of researchers at the New York University and the New York Genome Centre have created a new CRISPR technology for targeting RNA. Numerous CRISPR genetic screenings can only target DNA viruses and the ability to target RNA viruses like flu or coronavirus is absent.

The CRISPR screening technology

CRISPR technology is used for discovering a small number of vital genes or genetic sequences. Furthermore, CRISPR screening serves as an important tool for identifying genes that are key influencers of various physiological effects such as drug resistance and drug sensitivity.

Effective development of RNA targeting

Earlier, CRISPR screening technology was only useful for targeting DNA viruses. Researchers have now developed an RNA-targeting CRISPR technology. For this, the researchers used Cas13, a recently characterized enzyme. Furthermore, using CAS13, they created a platform for huge parallel genetic screens in human cells at the RNA level.  The researchers developed a machine-based predictive model by targeting many different human RNA transcript sites.

A boon for coronavirus testing

As the novel coronavirus disease spreads its ugly shadow on the world, this development will prove to be a beneficial tool. Furthermore, a deep analysis of the RNA genome of coronavirus can lead to further developments in eradicating the disease globally.

As of now, the novel coronavirus disease has 1,99,268 positive cases worldwide and has caused 7,994 deaths globally. 82,783 people have been recovered from this disease. In addition, using this technology, early detection can lead to quick treatment. Therefore, this may definitely help o prevent further outbreak and contact of the infected people. This, in turn, will help in eradicating the disease at a faster rate.