Friday, November 4, 2016

Developing a Super Molecule to Destroy Viruses

Researchers at IBM’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore have begun research into a new molecular technology that could serve as a near universal method for viral treatment.  Due to the general variation within viruses, this treatment focuses on something that is found in a higher percentage of viruses, in this case, the targets are glycoproteins.  These glycoproteins are one of the keys in the ability of a virus to enter host cell and proceed with replication, so the researchers determined that this could be a viable option for treatment or prevention.  These observations resulted in the researchers synthesizing a bio-macromolecule that targets viruses based on the glycoproteins rather than the genetics of specific viruses; this development could provide promising breakthroughs in not only the treatment of viruses, but also the curing.  The molecule is said to work based upon two different factors, the first being the ability of the molecule to use variations in electrostatic charge to draw viruses to bond thus halting the virus from entering potential host cells and after bonding the molecule decreases the pH of the pathogen effectively lowering its replicative ability.  The second factor of the molecule is the ability of the molecule to protect the immune system, specifically its cells, by dispersing a sugar called mannose which bonds to said cells and aids in resistance to infection.  This technology has currently been tested to work upon Dengue and Ebola with promising results, and awaits further testing and trials before it will come close to human usage.

-Ethan Wentworth


No comments: