Firstly, I have scant knowledge of biology, epidemiology, virology, and related fields. If my question seems nonsensical or bewildering, I beg your pardon. I'm not sure how to phrase this, but I'll try my best.

As far as I know, when the Covid virus enters your cells, it releases its RNA so that it can copy itself and replicate and thus spread in body.

Can that Covid RNA strand be "nullified" when it comes in contact with an opposite RNA sequence? In other words, just like if you pour water on a fire, the fire will extinguish and thus the two elements can be considered "opposites" as per my logic. In the same way, can an "opposite" RNA thing exist, which can possibly "extinguish" the Covid RNA? If you know what I mean. The analogy is that the "opposite" RNA thing is water while Covid RNA is the fire. The former can take out the latter.

Is there something that works like this? If not, is it possible to develop something that works like this?

Because that way, the Covid replication process is halted at that first step, and ergo the virus can't infect the body.



1 Answer 1


Yes is the short answer.

These are known as silencing RNAs or interfering RNAs

The longer answer is You would need much more RNA than you could easily administer to the epithelial cells of the mucosa and other tissues that viruses like SARS-CoV-2 infect, so as to cover each individual cell. In addition you would need to be able to deliver it to those tissues in a timely manner (inhalation is possible, several drugs are administered in that manner), have it enter the cells (essentially what the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine does) and not have it be degraded.

These are not insurmountable problems, the Moderna team managed to do it for their much longer vaccine, but I don't know if the same base modifications that work for their vaccine will still work for interference/silencing.

  • $\begingroup$ I suspect that delivering to all the cells infected by the virus in large enough amounts to slow viral replication is indeed an insurmountable problem (otherwise the virus would have unprotected cells within which to replicate); the Moderna vaccine just has to get into some cells in modest amounts, not all affected cells in overwhelming amounts. $\endgroup$
    – Armand
    Aug 22, 2021 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Armand - I totally agree, but it could be possible to do, just extremely impractical and probably with horrific side-effects, if the transfections that I do regularly, can be taken as a basis. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Aug 22, 2021 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm silencing siRNAs notwithstanding I’m not happy that you’re answering OP’s question with “yes” since, frankly, the concept of “nullifying” or negating RNA doesn’t really make sense and does certainly not exist: the RNA is neither “extinguished” as in OP’s analogy, nor otherwise negated or nullified. No such effect exists: opposites don’t cancel out (RNAs are not physical forces), and what would this even mean for RNA? The fact that RNAi superficially looks like it does exactly that is all the more astonishing but unlike OP’s proposal there’s actually a logical mechanism underlying it. $\endgroup$ Aug 24, 2021 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ @KonradRudolph - if you can make a ssRNA into dsRNA the viral RdRP will no longer work on it properly, especially if you can make some of the bases non-conventional. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Aug 24, 2021 at 23:47

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