Thousands of researchers globally are working around the clock to develop a vaccine to attack the SARS-COV-2 virus. However, researchers in the nanoengineering laboratories are taking a different way towards dealing with the SARS-COV-2 infection. Besides boosting the immune system to attack and kill the virus, the researchers have opted to create a defense mechanism. The mechanism is to work by shielding healthy human cells that are affected by the virus. The strategy is straightforward as it employs the creating of decoy structures looking like the human cells that the SARS-COV-2 attacks. These decoy cells can then attract and later neutralize the virus, leaving the immune cells healthy.
For the decoy cells to be made, researchers gathered the outer membranes of immune or long cells and wrap them around a core designed from tiny, biodegradable particles. The decoy cells are made to resemble the human cells they are impersonating. These cells are also nanosponges as they can soak up any dangerous pathogens that may attack the cells they are impersonating. Once the virus is locked by these decoy cells, it cannot invade any cell, and the body’s defense system then eliminates it.
Why is this essential?
Vaccines are known to be vital in protecting the body against viral attacks. However, due to the nature of viruses mutating, vaccines and treatments are always rendered ineffective. This is the reason why every year, a new flu vaccine has to be developed. The good news is that the SARS-COV-2 does not mutate rapidly as other influenza viruses. However, why other mechanisms that are not affected by mutations must be put in place, hopefully, several teams of researchers should come up with safer and more effective methods of treating COVID-19 as fast as possible.
The unknown truth
Varieties of nanosponges that have been developed are at different levels of pre-clinical trials. Fortunately, the outcomes are very encouraging; however, there is still much to be done to ensure they are valid and safe for humans. Theses cellular nanosponges are the latest kinds of medicine to be developed. They have been designed from human red blood cell membranes. They are now at their latest stages of the regulatory processes as they have passed all stages of pre-clinical testing.
The way forward
Various companies are submitting new drug applications to the FDA for the red blood cell nanosponges to help in treating bacterial pneumonia. If the FDA approves the drugs, and the pre-clinical information for COVID-19 nanosponges continues to impress, it could be cleared for clinical trials. The nanosponges for COVID-19 are currently being tested on animals. If it reaches the clinical stage, there will be several ways of delivering that therapy.
For example, the therapies may be delivered directly into the intubated patients’ lungs through an inhaler or intravenous injection. Additionally, the immune-cell nanosponges could have the ability to soak up the inflammatory cytokine proteins in humans. These proteins are responsible for activating the dangerous immune system overreactions in some of the people suffering from COVID-19.
It would be enlightening to unpack what biomed companies like Predictive Oncology (NASDAQ: POAI) think about how soon these decoy cells would be available for use in patients.
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