LOS ANGELES, March 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- After successful preclinical trials in Los Angeles, a novel treatment method for COVID-19, which uses SARS-CoV-2's own specific key protein enzymes to turn the virus against itself – in effect killing it off within 48 hours – is currently in progress to advance to human clinical trials in the coming months.
The breakthrough, developed by pioneering medical research scientist Serhat Gumrukcu, MD, PhD (Dr. Serhat), will lead to an aerosol inhaler treatment, used annually – much like annual flu shots – to prevent users from contracting the virus. The treatment is also expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-1 and any future SARS virus mutations – essentially having the potential to eradicate all SARS-related pandemics.
Dr. Serhat recently presented his research findings at the 2021 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), regarded in the medical research community as the leading HIV and viral research conference in the world.
"His Hijack RNA treatment method is an elegant scientific approach that highlights his signature creativity for addressing these treatable, but incurable illnesses," says Dr. W. David Hardy, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine at The Keck School of Medicine at USC. "This strategy beautifully reflects Dr. Serhat's exceptionally keen understanding of how viruses work."
Dr. Serhat, who serves as Executive Director and Director of Translational Research at Seraph Research Institute, is well respected and recognized within the medical scientific community for his cutting-edge research in cancer and infectious diseases including HIV, Hepatitis B, and influenza. "My research is focused on finding a treatment that would eradicate the virus at the cellular level, using components already existing within the virus," says Dr. Serhat.
The key basis for the Hijack RNA treatment's mechanism of action:
- SARS-CoV-2 is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus that utilizes a negative-sense subgenomic (sg) RNA intermediates for viral protein synthesis. Dr. Serhat's strategy uses a synthetic RNA ("Hijack RNA") designed to be recognized by SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). Upon recognition, Hijack RNA turns into a molecule that gives the infected cell and the virus a self-destruct signal.
- Early study results show:
- Novel Hijack RNA expression eradicated SARS-CoV-2 infection in cell cultures within 48 hours and in animal models within 6 days without relapse of infections, or any signs of early or late toxicity.
- The molecular structure of SARS-CoV-2 Hijack RNA is designed to be recognized by all existing strains of SARS-CoV-2, as well as SARS-CoV, making the treatment an effective potential pan-coronavirus cure.
- Hijack RNA approach has been presented in past scientific conferences, successfully targeting other viruses like HBV, HIV (currently under development by Gumrukcu Lab, in collaboration with Enochian Biosciences), and influenza.
Seraph Research Institute is proceeding with the regulatory approval process of Hjiack RNA treatment through the FDA's Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) to move forward to human clinical trials.
About Serhat Gumrukcu, MD, PhD
Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu is the Executive Director and Director of Translational Research at the Seraph Research Institute, based in Los Angeles. His current research on infectious diseases focuses on creating new approaches and mechanisms of actions in antiviral therapies through co-opting virus-specific components of viral replication machinery, on viruses including SARS-CoV-2, HIV, HBV, influenza and Ebola.
Dr. Serhat is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), International AIDS Society (IAS), HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), and American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) where he serves on the Cancer Cell & Gene Therapy Committee and Infectious Diseases and Vaccines Committee.
About Seraph Research Institute
Seraph Research Institute is a non-profit research institution, registered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that works to advance medical science in the areas of unmet need. The organization's team of leading research scientists and medical experts work to answer the fundamental questions rooted in science – studying disease at every level from molecular to cellular – and physiology, from individual to population-based scales to create novel approaches to help patients with incurable diseases.
SOURCE Seraph Research Institute