World-first COVID-19 antiviral therapy destroys 99.9 viral load in mice

Queensland researchers and a US team developed the antiviral therapy

Queensland researchers and a US team have developed an antiviral therapy that has killed off the COVID-19 viral load in infected mice by 99.9 percent.

Lead researcher Professor Nigel McMillan, from Griffith University, called it a “seek and destroy mission” where the therapy genetically targeted the potentially deadly virus.

The international team of scientists from the Menzies Health Institute Queensland and the US research institute City of Hope began their collaborative research last April.

They used a “next-generation” viral approach using gene-silencing RNA technology to attack the virus genome directly, which stops the virus from spreading.

“It causes the genome to be destroyed and the virus can’t grow anymore — so we inject the nanoparticles and they go and find the virus and destroy it just like a heat-seeking missile,” Professor McMillan said.

“This is the first time we have been able to package this up as a particle, send it through the bloodstream to attack the virus.


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