Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(13):5070-5085. doi:10.7150/ijbs.72706 This issue


Development and application of ribonucleic acid therapy strategies against COVID-19

Lin Ning1,2, Mujiexin Liu3, Yushu Gou2, Yue Yang2, Bifang He4✉, Jian Huang2✉

1. School of Healthcare Technology, Chengdu Neusoft University, Sichuan, China
2. School of Life Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Sichuan, China
3. Ineye Hospital of Chengdu University of TCM, Sichuan, China
4. Medical College, Guizhou University, Guizhou, China

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Ning L, Liu M, Gou Y, Yang Y, He B, Huang J. Development and application of ribonucleic acid therapy strategies against COVID-19. Int J Biol Sci 2022; 18(13):5070-5085. doi:10.7150/ijbs.72706. Available from

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Graphic abstract

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), remaining a global health crisis since its outbreak until now. Advanced biotechnology and research findings have revealed many suitable viral and host targets for a wide range of therapeutic strategies. The emerging ribonucleic acid therapy can modulate gene expression by post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) based on Watson-Crick base pairing. RNA therapies, including antisense oligonucleotides (ASO), ribozymes, RNA interference (RNAi), aptamers, etc., were used to treat SARS-CoV whose genome is similar to SARV-CoV-2, and the past experience also applies for the treatment of COVID-19. Several studies against SARS-CoV-2 based on RNA therapeutic strategy have been reported, and a dozen of relevant preclinical or clinical trials are in process globally. RNA therapy has been a very active and important part of COVID-19 treatment. In this review, we focus on the progress of ribonucleic acid therapeutic strategies development and application, discuss corresponding problems and challenges, and suggest new strategies and solutions.

Keywords: ribonucleic acid therapy, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, antisense oligonucleotides, ribozymes, RNA interference