Over the past few decades, virologists have worked to illuminate the ‘viral dark matter’ associated with humans, uncovering an expansive and diverse human virome. Notably, some of these viruses are harmless and can live within us for extended periods without detrimental outcomes. That’s the hallmark of commensalism: a symbiotic relationship where one organism benefits and the other is not affected.
Virologists at Ring uncovered a large family of diverse viruses called anelloviruses, that constitute the majority of the human commensal virome. Anelloviruses are stealthy, inhabiting numerous tissue types without triggering the immune system’s alarm. Once inside the cell, the viral genome remains as a stable episomal element, a single-stranded ring of DNA adjacent to our own genome.
Anelloviruses have coevolved with us over millennia, in a symbiotic relationship never before described in humans and that we’re only beginning to fully understand.
We believe anelloviruses present in virtually every person and a diverse array of tissues represent an opportunity to create a revolutionary programmable platform to engineer viral vectors capable of safely addressing a large range of diseases with greater precision and dose adjustability.