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RNA Molecule Triggers COVID-19 Immunity in Mice Without Vaccination - Yale University

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Lab mice - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.11.2021
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Tests in mice with an RNA molecule demonstrated an ability to trigger a powerful immunity to COVID-19 without a vaccination, offering potential path to protect people in nations where vaccines are in short supply, Yale University said on Wednesday.
“The molecule, known as SLR14, is a simple, easy to manufacture, loop of RNA that can trigger the production of interferons, a group of proteins produced by immune cells that are key to the body’s innate, or initial, response to infection. Multiple studies have shown that COVID-19 patients who produce high levels of interferons have far better outcomes than those for whom interferon levels are low during early days of infection,” Yale University said in a press release.
Treated mice also responded well to numerous variants of the novel coronavirus, including the Delta variant that has become the predominant strain of the virus in the United States. Details were published Wednesday in the journal Experimental Medicine, the release said.

If clinical trials in humans confirm the efficacy of SLR14, the relatively inexpensive compound could help reduce COVID-19 cases in low-income countries where vaccine availability is limited. It could also provide important benefits for immunocompromised individuals who are not able to create sufficient levels of antibody-producing B cells and virus-killing T cells, the release also said.

In experiments, the researchers found that a single dose of the compound was sufficient to protect mice against severe disease and death, worked against a variety of variants, and could even eradicate the virus from mice with chronic infections, the release added.
The molecule works by jump starting what the release characterized as the immune system’s first responders to viral infection, according to the release.
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