Nearly Indestructible Virus to be Used to Treat Diseases
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., May 26 (UPI) — Scientists at the University of Virginia studying the SIRV2 virus discovered how it survives in very harsh environments and hope it will help them to use genetic therapy to battle diseases.
The research spotlighted similarities between the virus and the methods which bacterial spores use to survive, including the way that SIRV2 forces itself into an A-form, which allows it to protect its DNA. The protection of its DNA is important to attempting to fight disease because the human body has several ways to degrade DNA in invading viruses and bacteria — which means that scientists may have discovered a way to overcome these protective systems in the body.
“What’s interesting and unusual is being able to see how proteins and DNA can be put together in a way that’s absolutely stable under the harshest conditions imaginable,” said Edward H. Egelman, PhD, of the UVA Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, in a press release. “We’ve discovered what appears to be a basic mechanism of resistance — to heat, to desiccation, to ultraviolet radiation. And knowing that, then, we can go in many different directions, including developing ways to package DNA for gene therapy