Throughout the course of the project, we collaborated with Harvard iGEM. Both of our teams had projects that revolved around SARS-CoV-2 and treating it. Harvard designed a DNA origami system that can administer an optimized SARS-CoV-2 antibody and its mRNA directly to immune cells in infected patients.
How we helped them:
Since our projects were quite similar, our methodology was as well. We were able to help them better understand how to model the antibody binding with the spike protein as well as help them identify better targets for their DNA Origami. We were also able to teach them some PyRosetta techniques that they could use to model.
How they helped us:
One thing we were unable to do at any point in the project was have access to a wet lab environment. Due to this, we were unable to experimentally validate any of our antibodies. Harvard agreed to validate some of our antibodies while they were performing the experiments for their own project. We sent 5 different antibody sequences for Harvard to experimentally validate.
What we plan for the future:
The potential of DNA Origami as a therapy can’t be overlooked. It’s a technique that has potential beyond SARS-CoV-2 and could even help tackle viruses that have plagued humanity for decades, such as HIV. In the future, we plan to combine our projects in a way that can bolster therapeutic treatments for viral diseases. Using DNA Origami as a delivery method, we aim to use machine learning to expand on the modeling we’ve worked on throughout the course of this project. We hope to be able to model various different antibody interactions with mutated viruses of various species. For something such as HIV, we could sequence the virus and identify which antibodies would work best on it using our algorithm, following which the corresponding antibodies could be delivered to the target cell using the DNA Origami that Harvard’s project revolves around.