Biology Forum Molecular Biology Antisense replicants as potential genetic vaccines

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      Will Yung

      Frequent mutations of viruses presents a great challenge to vaccine development. Changes in the conformation of the antigens enable the virus to escape immune response. To circumvent this problem, I suggest looking into antisense repicons as genetic vaccines.

      The replicant should consists of the followings:

      – a replication origin that enables the replicon to maintain itself in human cells

      – ORFs that can transcribed into the antisense strands of the key viral proteins

      The replicon can be delivered to the human cells harbouring the receptors for viral entry using nanoparticle technology coupled to the ligand of the viral receptors. If this can be done, we can create subsets of human cells that are black holes for the virus.

      The advantages of this approach are:

      – it is a pro-active strategy since it destroys the virus at the genetic level. Mutations must accumulate to such an extent that it is hardly the original virus to evade destruction.

      – it avoids the potential hazards of undesirable immune responses induced by traditional vaccines

      – replicons can be maintained in the cells that are targets of the virus, they can provide lifelong immunity without continuous booster shots

      I think this can be tested for COVID 19 if we the the delivery vehicles to cells bearing ACE2 receptors. HIV is also a potential target for testing out this approach.


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