IBM Invents Anti-Viral Molecule That May Be Effective Against All Viruses
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Medicine
IBM created a molecule that could destroy all viruses:
Soon your bathroom might have antimicrobial soap that doesn't just kill bacteria, but also wipes out Ebola, Zika, dengue, or herpes. That's the promise of a new chemical just announced by IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore. Such a soap is just one of the potential uses of this "macromolecule," says James Hedrick, one of the lead researchers on the project at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CA. If taken as a medication, the macromolecule would also have two ways to protect cells from any virus that does get past the first defense.
"It's almost a daunting task to design any kind of therapeutic for a virus," says Hedrick, because they are so varied. Some use DNA to carry their genetic instructions, and some use RNA. Some come wrapped in a membrane, some don't. But all viruses mutate quickly, sidestepping chemicals designed to precisely attack them. Working with a bunch of research institutions, IBM and Singapore's IBN instead invented a chemical that attacks something fundamental to all viruses—something that mutations don't change.