Mar 14, 2022
Jesús Martin-Garcia is the CEO of GeNeuro, a Swiss-based clinical stage company focused on novel approaches for treating autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases. While previously considered junk DNA, human endogenous retroviruses are now being seen in a new light as they represent 8% of human DNA and play a role in locking viral reproduction.
Jesús explains, "Our mission is really to focus on and to defeat neurodegenerative diseases. We have an original approach, and we believe because we are based on leveraging the biology of human endogenous retroviruses, which are the traces that are left in our DNA by the virus contaminations that affected our ancestors. We believe they play a major role in neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, ALS, and now recent data has shown, long-COVID."
"Yes, that was frankly a surprise for us. It was a discovery led by some academic groups in the US and Europe that showed that SARS-CoV-2, remember I told you at the beginning, this interaction between exogenous viruses in our cells, and the fact that some of them were able to de-repress pathogenic proteins. SARS-CoV-2 was shown to be able to de-repress W-ENV, which is basically the same protein that we see in the brain of MS patients. But this time, it was really, I would say a more diverse de-repression - a stronger expression in lymphocytes in the blood, on endothelial cells of the brain, the heart, and the lung, and also all the way up to microglia, the brain, in some patients that had died from COVID."
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