Potential use of noncoding RNAs and innovative therapeutic strategies to target the 5'UTR of SARS-CoV-2

A. Baldassarre, A. Paolini, S.P. Bruno, C. Felli, A.E. Tozzi, A. Masotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After the increasing number of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections all over the world, researchers and clinicians are struggling to find a vaccine or innovative therapeutic strategies to treat this viral infection. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection that occurred in 2002, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and other more common infectious diseases such as hepatitis C virus, led to the discovery of many RNA-based drugs. Among them, siRNAs and antisense locked nucleic acids have been demonstrated to have effective antiviral effects both in animal models and humans. Owing to the high genomic homology of SARS-CoV-2 and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (80-82%) the use of these molecules could be employed successfully also to target this emerging coronavirus. Trying to translate this approach to treat COVID-19, we analyzed the common structural features of viral 5'UTR regions that can be targeted by noncoding RNAs and we also identified miRNAs binding sites suitable for designing RNA-based drugs to be employed successfully against SARS-CoV-2. © 2020 Future Medicine Ltd.. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1349-1361
Number of pages13
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • 5'UTR
  • COVID-19
  • GapmeRs
  • miRNAs
  • RNAi
  • SARS-CoV
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antisense oligonucleotide
  • antivirus agent
  • locked nucleic acid
  • signal peptide
  • untranslated RNA
  • virus RNA
  • 5' untranslated region
  • binding site
  • coronavirus disease 2019
  • gene deletion
  • gene structure
  • gene targeting
  • human
  • in vivo study
  • nonhuman
  • priority journal
  • Review
  • RNA binding
  • RNA interference
  • SARS coronavirus
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
  • animal
  • Coronavirus infection
  • genetics
  • metabolism
  • pandemic
  • procedures
  • RNAi therapeutics
  • virus pneumonia
  • 5' Untranslated Regions
  • Animals
  • Coronavirus Infections
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • RNAi Therapeutics


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