Cell Reports, Volume 37, Issue 3, 19 October 2021, 109839
April 25th, 2021
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs involved in post-transcriptional gene regulation that have a major impact on many diseases and provide an exciting avenue toward antiviral therapeutics. From patient transcriptomic data, we determined that a circulating miRNA, miR-2392, is directly involved with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) machinery during host infection. Specifically, we show that miR-2392 is key in driving downstream suppression of mitochondrial gene expression, increasing inflammation, glycolysis, and hypoxia, as well as promoting many symptoms associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. We demonstrate that miR-2392 is present in the blood and urine of patients positive for COVID-19 but is not present in patients negative for COVID-19. These findings indicate the potential for developing a minimally invasive COVID-19 detection method. Lastly, using in vitro human and in vivo hamster models, we design a miRNA-based antiviral therapeutic that targets miR-2392, significantly reduces SARS-CoV-2 viability in hamsters, and may potentially inhibit a COVID-19 disease state in humans.