Viruses are Nature’s delivery vehicles. Millions of years of evolution have molded them into remarkable machines capable of performing a monumental task vital to their survival: the delivery of genetic material into other organisms.
Viruses are shells made up of proteins and sometimes lipids that carry genetic information into cells. The type of genetic material (DNA or RNA), shape, size, and the process of delivery differ between different virus families.
Current state-of-the-art research uses bio-mined viruses as blueprints for the creation of new materials and therapeutics that can benefit humanity. For example, the field of gene therapy harnesses the efficient ability of viruses to infect host cells and turns them into delivery vehicles for the genetic treatment of people suffering from debilitating diseases and disorders.
The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved Luxturna—a gene therapy drug that uses a benign virus for the treatment of hereditary blindness in children. This is the first gene therapy product for a genetic disease approved for clinical use in the US, and has opened the gates for approval of other virus-based therapies for treatment of genetic diseases, including hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis. In order to continue advances in such applied areas, more knowledge about how viruses work and how to control their functions is needed.
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain
News This Week
Coronavirus tests performed in labs are the gold standard for accuracy and antigen tests are a fast and inexpensive alternative. But backers of a third type of test, developed by a Nobel Prize winner [...]
COVID-19 is a severe infectious disease that has claimed >150,000 lives and infected millions in the United States thus far, especially the elderly population. Emerging evidence has shown the virus to cause hemorrhagic and immunologic [...]
Switzerland’s Covid-19 scientific taskforce chief says hospitals across the Alpine country could be swamped with new coronavirus cases in the next two or three weeks unless the situation improves. “We estimate that the capacity limit [...]
Scientists are to increase surveillance for new coronavirus mutations amid concerns that future strains of the virus could develop at least partial resistance to antibody treatments and Covid-19 vaccines. There is no evidence that the [...]
From the moment you turn off your morning alarm, to the time you hit the pillow, your life is full of surfaces. Swiping through your phone, opening doors, putting in your PIN – there are [...]
A new report suggests that lingering “brain fog” and other neurological symptoms after COVID -19 recovery may be due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an effect observed in past human coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS [...]
ClSARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can relieve pain, according to a new study by University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers. The finding may explain why nearly half of people who get COVID-19 [...]
Contrary to president Donald Trump’s repeated declarations, the coronavirus pandemic was not — and still isn’t — totally under control. That lie is central to “Totally Under Control,” the [...]
Summary: A new study suggests COVID-19 may deplete testosterone levels in males. Findings reveal as testosterone decreased, the severity of coronavirus increased. Men who died from coronavirus infection had significantly lower mean testosterone than those [...]
It is the question scientists around the world are trying to answer: how long can the coronavirus survive in the tiny aerosol particles we exhale? In a high-security lab near Bristol, entered through a series [...]
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, researchers are working overtime to develop vaccines and therapies to thwart SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease Many efforts focus on the coronavirus spike protein, which binds the [...]
A research team in Hungary pinched the coronavirus with a fine needle to measure how much force it could take before popping like a balloon. It did not. The native virion of Sars-CoV-2 – a [...]
Headaches, confusion and delirium experienced by some Covid-19 patients could be the result of the coronavirus directly invading the brain, according to a study published Wednesday. The research is still preliminary – but offers several [...]
By Boris M | Published in Coronavirus During the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a lot of information about the virus and its effects on mental health. That’s because coronavirus and the social, financial and psychological [...]
A serious illness suffered by an Oxford University coronavirus vaccine trial participant was most likely “life-threatening”, a bioethics researcher says. But that doesn’t mean the clinical trials will be scrapped. AstraZeneca and Oxford University [...]