When fighting COVID 19 or any threatening disease, we want as many guns pointed at our enemy as possible. Even a simple form of life like a coronavirus possesses great complexity and thus many potential therapeutic targets. Each target offers many options for guns to strike a mortal blow against our foe. Options abound- blocking entry of the virus, blocking replication of the virus, binding of the virus by antibodies, and more. Scientists suspect that aptamers may offer another gun in the fight against COVID infection.
COVID 19, caused by the relatively new coronavirus SARS CoV2, sent shockwaves into the world in 2020, shockwaves still reverberating today in 2021. While the initial fear should have settled as we learned more, we continue to feverishly search for counterattacks to this virus which contributes to the death of our vulnerable chronically ill and aged population. A number of options have been discovered, but none that are accepted widely by the conventional medical world. Ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine offer early therapy options alongside a number of natural substances, especially Vitamin D.
We also have convalescent plasma as a beneficial option. In this procedure, the antibodies from someone who survived the COVID disease are transferred into someone currently suffering from the disease. For many, this has been a game-changer, but limited availability prevents widespread use. Recombinant, or synthesizing methods of copying such antibodies, have also allowed some COVID recoveries.
In the midst of these therapies which receive less fanfare, the media attention focuses on vaccines. While prevention normally seems a wonderful route against disease, these vaccines have their lists of cons and risks. They are not fool proof, and some think they are foolish.
Now we have aptamers, single strands of DNA, which researchers in this paper believe have some hope of attenuating the disease severity. Scientists possess the capability of producing millions or billions of different single stranded DNA sequences with today’s technology. They took these and evaluated whether any might affect COVID infection. They found SP6, one specific aptamer, which bound to the spike protein on SARS CoV2 and appeared to slow the viral entry in the model. They hypothesize that a nose spray using this aptamer might provide prevention as needed
We have to temper our excitement at this prospect as their study used pseudoviruses rather than real coronavirus. They create this pseudovirus with the SARS CoV2 spike protein, but without the full viral components to cause full disease. The aptamer slowed this pseudovirus, but testing in the real virus must occur before true fanfare should begin.
Functional medicine physicians like myself welcome all therapies which offer benefit to our patients, but sigh as we listen to conventional medicine hem and haw over possibilities. We have a number of natural options presently available which deserve much more attention than aptamers and novel pathways. Somehow, the new and exciting always get more fanfare and attention than natural therapies which have been around for centuries. Helping our patients live healthier more abundant lives means keeping our minds and our toolboxes open to natural and pharmaceutical options, ignoring neither.
Anton Schmitz, Anna Weber, Mehtap Bayin, Stefan Breuers, Volkmar Fieberg, Michael Famulok, Günter Mayer. A SARS‐CoV‐2 Spike Binding DNA Aptamer that Inhibits Pseudovirus Infection by an RBD‐Independent Mechanism. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2021; DOI: 10.1002/anie.202100316
Thanks to Science Daily:
University of Bonn. “Molecule attacks coronavirus in a novel way: Active ingredient inhibits infection with so-called pseudoviruses in the test tube, study shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2021. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210326122747.htm>.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.