SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Santa Fe company Spartina Biotechnologies is developing a technology that could control COVID-19 without the use of a vaccine. The SIREN technology uses a two-pronged approach.

“SIREN technology offers a novel treatment for the control of COVID-19 by stopping the replication of the virus and preventing the virus from suppressing immune system components in the first place,” said Richard Sayre, Ph.D. the lead scientist on the project.

Recent studies indicate that the lower morbidity and mortality observed in children infected with SAR-CoV-2 relative to adults is associated with a more active innate immune system as well as a less active adaptive immune response in children.

“These observations suggest that a virus control strategy based on enhanced activation of the innate immune response may be an effective strategy to control COVID-19,” said Dr. Sayre in a press release. “The SIREN technology focuses on the simultaneous activation of multiple components of the innate immune system to control the virus and offers a unique strategy to treat and prevent COVID-19 infections that is complementary to vaccine virus control strategies.”

The technology works differently than a vaccine as it would block the ability of viruses to replicate and would trigger a patient’s immune response within hours of its use. Spartina Biotechnologies reports that the process works using RNA interference to silence genes in the virus that would allow it to replicate.

Dr. Sayre says that the process would potentially have no side effects and could be readily available to the public through an injection similar to an allergy shot. While some Americans are hesitant towards taking a COVID-19 vaccine, the SIREN technology would offer new way to reach herd immunity.

Spartina Biotechnologies states that while the technology would keep the virus from replicating, it would also unblock the innate immune system and help to prevent COVID-19 by stopping the spread of the virus. Scientists say SIREN can also be quickly adjusted to meet any new virus threats that can’t be treated with a vaccine developed for another strain.

Spartina Biotechnologies reports the SIREN technology could be available to the market by late 2021. Lab research started this fall and clinical trials are expected in mid-2021 along with mass production late next year.