Genetic Engineering and Babies

Article

Genetic Engineering and Babies

ONE-AND-DONE

April 2024

Editorial, CEO, Michelle Perro, MD

Small Interfering RNA (siRNA)

As a children’s specialist, I want to caution parents regarding the emerging use of small interfering RNA (siRNA) technology, particularly in therapeutic contexts potentially applicable to infants and young children. This technology, which manipulates RNA to silence specific genes, is still in its infancy and carries significant unknowns. Early research indicates that siRNA can unintentionally impact off-target genes, leading to unpredictable biological outcomes.

For developing infants, whose cellular and genetic pathways are rapidly evolving, this can mean unintended interference with developmental processes crucial for normal growth and health. Moreover, the delivery mechanisms used to transport siRNA into cells can themselves provoke immune responses or toxicities, potentially compromising an infant’s still-developing immune system. Therefore, until there is more comprehensive research and understanding of the long-term impacts and safety of siRNA technology in young children, extreme caution and rigorous scrutiny of its application are advised.

What is RNA?

RNA (ribose nucleic acid) is a complex molecular containing sugar and a phosphate backbone.  The ribose is the sugar, whereas in its cousin, DNA, the sugar is deoxyribose.  Both RNA and DNA carry information which is stored in “bases” made of nitrogen.  Simply stated, in RNA these bases are adenine, cytosine, guanine, and uracil.  DNA contains thymine in place of uracil.  The biggest difference is that DNA forms a double-stranded helix and RNA is a single-stranded helix.

Photo credit: Earth How

“One-and-Done”

How Is This Different From the Modified RNA (mRNA) in the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Small interfering RNA (siRNA) and modified RNA (mRNA) technologies are distinct in their mechanisms and applications, particularly in medical treatments and vaccines. mRNA technology, as used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, involves introducing synthetic mRNA into the body that codes for a specific viral protein—commonly the spike protein of the virus. This synthetic mRNA uses the body’s cellular machinery to produce the viral protein, which, in turn, triggers an immune response without causing disease. The theory proposed was that this response prepares the immune system to recognize and fight the actual virus if it is encountered.

On the other hand, siRNA functions through a different mechanism known as RNA interference. siRNA molecules are designed to specifically bind to and degrade complementary mRNA sequences in the cells. By targeting the mRNA of viruses, the proposition is that the siRNA can prevent the replication of the virus within the body, neutralizing its capacity to cause infection. This technology does not involve the production of viral proteins, but directly interferes with the viral genetic material, offering a novel approach to viral infections rather than a vaccine-based strategy.

Applause or Rotten Tomatoes

I recently participated in a written interview on this topic by Children’s Health Defense.

I explained:

“The siRNA molecules, carried and delivered by nanocarriers, have been explored in the treatments of cancer,” explained Dr. Michelle Perro, an integrative medicine pediatrician and author of “What’s Making Our Children Sick?” “Even in the cancer arena, there are still many hurdles in their employment.”

The study by UC Riverside was conducted in mice, not human infants.  The researchers desire the elimination for strain-specific vaccines and a universal vaccine, protecting babies against viral mutations and that siRNA technology could be applied for this purpose as well as in the treatment of other diseases.

While this sounds like a 5 star review, below are explanations as to why the curtains should close on this performance:

  1. There has not been the gold standard of a double-blinded placebo-controlled study in infants to guarantee safety of this experimental genetically modifying drug.
  2. The researchers state that babies will no longer have to “depend on their mothers’ antibodies” — mothers provide excellent antibody protection for breast fed babies.  Is this a process towards the elimination of “the mother”?
  3. Long-term effects on the impacts of this novel technology developing immature immune systems are unknown, such as the production of inflammatory cytokines (cytokine storm), off-target effects, negative impacts on gene expression, and carcinogenic potential.
  4. The researchers stated in their paper that the technology is suitable for babies because their immune systems are still developing which is exactly the same argument that should be presented as to why they should not be allowed into our babies: Because their immune systems are still developing and adverse reactions may be fatal.
  5. Nasal administration?  The nano delivery system means that this novel RNA would be delivered to every cell of the body.  At the end of the nasal cavity sits the cribriform plate, which separates the nasal fossa from the cranium.  These nanoparticles would have direct access to the brain.  How could the researchers monitor and measure the toxicity from this process?

I query, how did the emergency release authorization (EUA) of the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines go for our children?  Not very well.

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