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New genetic method of using CRISPR to eliminate COVID-19 virus genomes in cells

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(March 2020)

It is predicted the development of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID-19 will take 12 to 18 months, by which time hundreds of thousands to millions of people may have been infected. With a rapidly growing number of cases and deaths around the world, this emerging threat requires a nimble and targeted means of protection.

Could CRISPR be the next virus killer?

To address this global pandemic challenge, we are developing a genetic vaccine that can be used rapidly in healthy and patients to greatly reduce the coronavirus spreading. We developed a safe and effective CRISPR system to precisely target, cut and destroy COVID-19 virus and its genome, which stops coronavirus from infecting the human lung.

We’ve shown that the CRISPR system can reduce 90% of coronavirus load in human cells. It can also protect humans against essentially 90% of all current and emerging coronaviruses. The project is ongoing, and we are working around the clock towards getting an actual product by combing our CRISPR method with an inhaler-based delivery device.

The project will likely to result in a potential therapeutics towards COVID-19, which can help slow down or eliminate the outbreak.

Relevant Publications or More Information

• A preprint of the work (not yet peer reviewed) 

Feature in WIRED magazine (March 18, 2020)


• Stanley Qi (Bioengineering)

• David Lewis (Pediatrics-Immunology)

• Jennifer Cochran (Bioengineering)

• Drew Endy (Bioengineering)