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IBM designed a universal antiviral with a supercomputer

via:博客园     time:2016/12/2 17:00:25     readed:1304

Researchers from the commonalities of all viruses, found for any virus is effective and not afraid of their variation of drugs.

It is well known that pathogenic viruses are very difficult to cope with, for example, the Ebola virus, which has been outbreaks in Africa two years ago, and the recently popular Zika virus. But what is the reason? First, the head of the virus is very small, smaller than the average diameter of human cells a hundred times. Although they can not escape the immune system attacks, but they can be immersed in your body, hostage cells to become their replication processing plant.

Once the virus invades, it splits its own DNA into the host cell's DNA. From the virus will take over and use the host cell function to complete their own copy. By constantly replicating, and then infecting other host cells, a virus can infect the body. Today, we have mastered the antiretroviral drug therapy (ART) method to suppress viral replication, which AIDS patients are using. In the absence of control of the virus in the case of the virus, a person can live a normal life. But ART can not remove the virus from the body. To do this, the drug must be able to target the host cells that are parasitized by the virus, while avoiding healthy cells. The medical profession has yet to complete this feat.

Another problem is the variation of the virus. This means that some of the variants of the virus works for other methods may not apply. To further understand the mechanism of the virus, the researchers at the IBM Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore are trying to find the commonalities of all viruses. Now they believe they have made a molecule that can not only successfully treat any viral infection, but also make a viable vaccine.

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Micrographs of drug molecules developed by IBM, if the new method is effective, will not only be able to inhibit viral replication, but also remove the virus in the human body. (Source: Larry Ostby / National C)

Researchers did not try to find the "common ground" at the level of genetic differences between viruses, but rather to find certain proteins shared by all viruses, which are also known as glycoproteins. These proteins are distributed outside the virion, the virus is the use of them to enter and host cells. Understanding this, the researchers began to design a polymer compound, in essence, is composed of many small molecules composed of large molecules.

Through the electrostatic charge, this polymer can pull the virus, and with the combination, resulting in the virus can not enter the host cell. After that, it changes the pH of the pathogen, making it acidic and losing its ability to replicate. In addition, macromolecules can protect the immune system. It releases a substance called mannose, which binds to immune cells, thereby inhibiting the possibility of viruses invading immune cells.

To date, researchers have tested the effect of this molecule on Ebola and dengue viruses, and the results are encouraging, published in the journal Macromolecules. In addition, the researchers found through a computer model that the technology could also be effective against other viruses such as Ebola, influenza, chikungunya, dengue fever, and herpes simplex 1.

But the study is only a proof-of-concept stage. More research is needed in the future to confirm its efficacy and safety in humans. If successful, we can make it into drugs, disinfectants, or spray cleaners, and even can inhibit the virus infection hand sanitizer. In this way, in a room containing Ebola using this drug, you can quickly clear the deadly virus. Despite a long way to go, scientists are encouraged by these discoveries. And even the Watson supercomputer will be used to help develop this exciting breakthrough.

Written by PHILIP PERRY

Translation / Willow

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