Track 18: Future of Virology
For thousands of years, viruses and viral infections have been the focus of research, agriculture, and medicine. Some of our greatest struggles and achievements have involved virology. Many methods used to examine cellular genes, such as restriction enzyme mapping, molecular cloning, and genome sequencing, were initially created and refined by utilizing smaller and more manipulable viral genomes. Indeed, virology laboratories served as the breeding ground for the fields of genetic engineering and biotechnology.
Viruses and viral gene products have also become important tools for understanding many biological processes and, possibly, for the treatment of illness. These techniques include reverse transcriptase, which is used to create cDNA, viral vectors, which transmit genes and produce proteins, transgenic animals, vaccines, and oncolytic treatment, which aims to leverage some viruses' ability to selectively target and destroy cancer cells. Studies are being conducted to see if this method is effective in treating human tumors. In a recent study, all mice given the protein-based immunization survived when exposed to lethal doses of the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The SARS-CoV-2 exposure did not result in any lung damage in any of the mice. During a 14-day trial, every mouse who did not receive the nanoparticle vaccine perished. The nanoparticles that contain the immunological target are known as SNAs, and they are a kind of globular DNA that can infiltrate immune cells and excite them very well. Over 60 different cell types have been used to evaluate SNAs. The ideal ratio between the density of the SNA's shell and core that yields the strongest response was established experimentally. SNA vaccines have been used to treat triple-negative breast cancer in mice, and more cancer-related vaccines are currently being developed. It was mostly practical to use COVID-19 as a case study to contrast how well the vaccine performed. However, it also draws attention to the SNA's larger significance as a platform for infectious diseases.
Although the case study's results are quite impressive, the intention was not to outperform the COVID vaccines currently on the market. Since there will eventually be another emergent disease, we are preparing for the next mutation or the next illness that requires a highly structured vaccine.