Friday, October 11, 2019

A Potential Cure to the Common Cold

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SETD3 Gene

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Researchers identified a protein in humans that some viruses use to multiply inside human cells and disabling this protein can potentially prevent infections from spreading. When researching, the mice and human cells that were engineered to lack this protein were unable to replicate any viruses within. Scientists believe that with this logic, the common cold could be treated. Colds are the most common infectious disease in humans. This type of treatment ultimately focuses on the human host rather than the actual virus because without the human host the virus is nothing because viruses hijack cells and rely on human cells to make more of themselves. They used CRISPR to delete chunks of DNA to create a cluster of human cells that are all missing a single gene and therefore can no longer make that corresponding protein. Then, researchers infected the cells with two types of viruses, the one that causes colds and another that is linked to neurological diseases. As a result of this, the protein SETD3 became evident repeatedly and this indicated that viruses needed this SETD3 to hijack cells. In fact, when mice were exposed to these viruses they were more likely to survive if they lacked a functioning version of SETD3. Unfortunately, scientists are still unaware of what other problems could arise from disabling this particular gene. Overall, I found this interesting; however, I feel as if curing a common cold is difficult due to the fact that the common cold is constantly evolving new strands. Yes, if it can no longer replicate it would ultimately die off; however, with evolution it might evolve to become stronger and no longer need that particular machinery. Ultimately, creating a much stronger infection. I also found it interesting the way that they had tested to find the specific gene that the rhinovirus needed to replicate. Separating all of the genes by eliminating a single gene and inserting the virus creates a very isolated experiment and is intriguing how easily they were able to distinctly see that SETD3 was the necessary piece that the rhinovirus needed to flourish. Overall, I feel that it’s truly an amazing thing that scientists are able to create these isolations and utilize CRISPR to narrow down options; however, I do feel that there are more serious diseases that should be analyzed rather than the common cold considering it lacks a severe enough threat to society.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Katharine,
    Great topic! Common cold can be fatal. I agree with you that a new strand evolved all the time, and if we can find that specific common gene, then we might be able to find a potential cure!