Disrupting transcription

I leveraged open-source, bioinformatics software to design and screen small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

You can check out the proposed experimental protocol and RNA designs in the whitepaper linked below.

Whitepaper

My approach to the project

The process

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RNAi Hypothesis

There should be a way for us to interfere with SARS-COV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) by blocking its mRNA transcripts in the cell. RNA interference (RNAi) is a cell pathway that can accomplish this in a safe and specific way. A unique strategy to employ RNAi is by activating it with a small-interfering RNA (siRNA) that targets the messenger RNA (mRNA) transcript of a target gene.

I designed a set of siRNAs that target conserved regions of the SARS-COV-2 genome with little deviation across the different strains worldwide. Avoiding common drug targets such as the Spike protein as a result and making a more robust approach.

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Validation and Computation

Once I thought through my idea through first principles, I shared my hypothesis with researchers experienced in RNAi and RNA therapeutic delivery. I used thier feedback to iterate on the details of my hypothesis.

After receving enough validation, I built out my workflow. I generated 99 siRNAs, eventually screening down to 6 promising siRNA candidates that target clinically-relevant SARS-COV-2 genomic targets.