Compositions and Methods for Treating Viral Infections

Tech ID: 32864 / UC Case 2020-539-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis (“UC Davis”) have developed methods for screening and targeting regions of viral genomes to identify drugs that inhibit the replication of RNA viruses.

Full Description

RNA-targeted therapies are a drug discovery platform inherently more precise than traditional small-molecule drugs. RNA-targeted therapies are specific and customizable, as Cas proteins can target a virus’ RNA more precisely. Thus, these technologies can access targets previously considered “undruggable”—e.g., certain regions of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome.

Researchers at UC Davis have developed screening techniques and molecular medicines to specifically target RNA viruses and inhibit their growth, and have identified accessible regions of viral genomes for targeting. The discovered methods include administering an antisense oligonucleotide (“ASO”)-based drug or a pharmaceutical composition containing an ASO, guide RNAs (“gRNA”) administered via an adeno-associated viral (“AAV”) vector, and an AAV vector that introduces both the Cas nuclease and the gRNA into the cell. This technology provides a method for identifying a gRNA that is either identical to or complementary to an equal-length portion of a sequence of a gene in the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome and targets a Cas nuclease to the sequence of the gene.

This technology is applicable as a therapeutic option for many diseases—including those caused by coronaviruses and other similar types of viruses.


  • Therapeutic option for treating viral infections or other conditions in animals or humans 
  • Provides methods of inhibiting the expression or replication of a SARS-CoV-2 gene


  • More specific and efficient therapy than most small-molecule approaches 
  • Can identify targets previously considered “undruggable”

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
Patent Cooperation Treaty Published Application 2021226019 11/11/2021 2020-539


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  • Hartigan-O'Connor, Dennis
  • Segal, David J.

Other Information


RNA viruses, coronavirus, molecular medicines, viral genomes, Cas proteins, ASO, gRNA, SARS-CoV-2

Categorized As