Oligonucleotide Therapeutics: New Drugs That Could Stop COVID-19

Oligonucleotide Therapeutics: New Drugs That Could Stop COVID-19

PR Newswire

SAN DIEGO, May 7, 2020

SAN DIEGO, May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists around the world have joined together in applying their skills and technologies to fight this global threat. Some of the most promising technologies to fight the coronavirus are based on a new type of drug called oligonucleotide therapeutics. In order to promote public awareness of these drugs and how they could stop SARS-CoV-2, the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS), whose members are at the forefront of this work, has released an informational video.

The technologies to develop oligonucleotide therapeutics differ from traditional drugs by targeting disease at the level of RNA. They have recently become the first drugs ever approved to treat the causes of some fatal diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy. More than 100 oligonucleotide therapeutics are now in development for other rare diseases, such as Huntington's Disease and ALS, and also for common conditions including cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Oligonucleotide technologies have accelerated drug development to the point that a customized oligonucleotide treatment was recently developed for one single person with a unique, fatal disease in under one year.

These powerful technologies have now been directed against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, and are moving forward into clinical trials at a record pace. The ability to swiftly create vaccines and treatments is a vital step in combatting pandemics. However, in the past, developing a new vaccine usually took more than a decade, and no new vaccine ever had been created in less than 4 years. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines based on oligonucleotide technologies were designed in a matter of days, began clinical testing within a few months, and could be in mass-production around the end of 20201. Other oligonucleotide therapeutics to attack the coronavirus are also being developed by OTS members.

Beyond developing treatments and vaccines, members of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society are proud to contribute to the efforts against the pandemic by developing and running diagnostic tests and providing other services to their communities. If you would like to learn more about our efforts in the fight against COVID-19, please click here.

Arthur M. Krieg, MD has worked in the oligonucleotide field since the 1980s. Most recently he founded Checkmate Pharmaceuticals to develop novel oligonucleotides for cancer immunotherapy. Art discovered the immune stimulatory CpG DNA motif in 1994, which led to a new approach to immunotherapy and vaccine adjuvants. He has published more than 250 scientific papers and is an inventor on more than 50 issued US patents covering oligonucleotide technologies. 

Media Contactinfo@oligotherapeutics.org

 1. Moderna Therapeutics. 2020. Slide 93.

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