COVID-19 has spread all over the world, but experts are also doing their best to fight it. They have been using leading-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and cloud computing to help organizations process data that will help in the fight against the virus.
Behind the achievements of experts working on the COVID-19 frontline are the organizations who are doing their best by using advanced technologies from software and robotics to the good old fashion collaboration to win the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Below are some of the top technologies that experts have used so far against COVID-19.
During the early days of the SARS-CoV-2 transmission, scientists from CanSino Biologics in China, Johnson & Johnson in the US, the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia, and the University of Oxford (later joined by AstraZeneca) in the UK began using adenoviral vectors to make COVID-19 vaccines.
Adenoviral vectors are the gutted version of adenovirus, the virus that causes the common cold. According to C&EN, adenoviral vectors are versatile tools that scientists can slip new genes, such as the DNA encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, into the vectors that are then grown, isolated, and packaged into vaccines.
Once it is injected into the body, the adenoviral vectors insert into the cells and trick them into producing coronavirus spike proteins, which then activates the immune system to produce T-cells that target the novel coronavirus.
Messenger RNA (mRNA)
In December 2020, th3 first mRNA vaccines were rolled out to the UK, the US, Canada, and other countries. It is a new type of vaccine that protects people from infectious diseases, like COVID-19. Unlike conventional vaccines, which give immunity by introducing a weakened form of the virus, mRNA vaccines teach the cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response to produce antibodies.
According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines are new but not unknown. Researchers have been studying mRNA for decades because it can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials, making the process standardized and scaled up so that vaccine development is faster than traditional vaccine development.
It has been studied for decades to use against other viruses, such as the Zika virus, rabies, flu, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Future mRNA vaccine technology might someday allow for one vaccine to provide protection against various diseases.
The CRISPR technology is widely known for its use as a gene-editing tool. But during the pandemic, it has gained a new purpose as an option for diagnosing COVID-19.
According to NIH, the CRISPR-Cas-based methods can diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infections in just one hour. Researchers have been looking into this technology as an alternative to developing a rapid and accurate diagnostic technique.
Moreover, they have also been studying its possible use for its antiviral therapeutic ability, although there has been no approved CRISPR-based therapy for human use yet. They said that even with its potential as a therapeutic modality, it may also face significant challenges for approval in human clinical trials.
Further assessment of potential risks associated with the use of CRISPR-based technology is crucial for future clinical advancements.