Friday, May 20, 2016

Your good news of the day: IBM says it's designed a molecule that could fight off any human virus

The scientists, from tech giant IBM and the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore, ignored the RNA and DNA of the viruses they used for testing – these would traditionally be the areas to target, as they give the viruses their characteristics, but they also tend to vary from virus to virus and mutation to mutation.
Instead the team looked at glycoproteins – large molecules attached to the outside of all viruses and capable of latching onto cells in the body - the process that actually makes us sick. The macromolecule that's now been developed attracts viruses and then hitches a ride on these glycoproteins, neutralising their acidity levels and making them less able to replicate in the process.
The macromolecule has another method of attack too – a sugar called mannose, which attaches itself to healthy immune cells and draws them closer to the virus, speeding up the fight against the infection.
Based on the tests already carried out by the team on viruses such as Ebola and dengue, the macromolecule works as intended. It binds itself to the glycoproteins, disabling viral ability to infect healthy cells, while the mannose was also found to be effective in stopping viruses from infecting immune cells.

1 comment:

  1. But will the new molecule create a race of mindless, flesh-eating zombies? Popular media suggests that it will.