PAC-MAN: The Coronavirus Killer

A CRISPR-mediated Coronavirus Treatment and Prevention Strategy

In mid-February, this year, Timothy Abbott, PhD Candidate at Stanford University’s Bioengineering Department, and Dr Marie La Russa, a research scientist working at Dr Stanley Qi’s lab at Stanford, found a way to create a therapeutic agent to prevent all forms of coronavirus.

The CRISPR system allows scientists to achieve a range of goals in editing or analyzing the extremely complex genomes of various organisms, pushing the fields of genomics and genome engineering forward | BiteSize Bio
3D image of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) | Forbes

How Does PAC-MAN Work?

The antiviral approach designed in this experiment relied on, as I mentioned before, a CRISPR-based system to recognize and degrade the viral genome once it is inserted into the cell, and the resulting viral mRNAs produced through RNA replication.

Cas13d enzyme with a crRNA molecule simulated in PyMol

Putting PAC-MAN To The Test

Since the team was unable to access live versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the time of the experiment, the approach was instead tested on synthesized fragments of the coronavirus genome, and with live infection of an Influenza A virus (IAV).

18 y/o innovator working on reversing ageing and researching cancer vaccines. www.akshajdarbar.com