Gene therapy is also yielding new ways to fight viral illness. Stanford University researchers developed a CRISPR gene editing approach to crippling viruses by destroying nucleotide sequences in their genomes. In June, they reported that the system (called PAC-MAN), could be used to attack the H1N1 flu strain in human lung cells. Now, they’re working on adapting the technology to COVID-19.
And a team led by Harvard University’s Massachusetts General Hospital is working on a COVID-19 vaccine designed to touch off an immune response by delivering fragments of SARS-CoV-2 into the body with an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector. It’s similar to gene-therapy technology used in FDA-approved products like Novartis’ Zolgensma to treat spinal muscular atrophy. In fact, Novartis agreed in May to manufacture the Mass General vaccine, should it be approved.
Biggest One-Day Spike, U.S. Coronavirus Cases Rise by 47,000
COVID-19 cases more than doubled in June in at least 10 states, including Texas and Florida, a Reuters tally showed. In parts of Texas and Arizona, hospital intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients are in short supply.More than 126,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions have lost their jobs as states and major cities ordered residents to stay home and businesses closed. The economy contracted sharply in the first quarter and is expected to crater in the second.