When you think of IBM, you think of computers, not the human body. However, it looks like the company not has their own bio engineering and nano tech department, but it’s just been announced that they’ve made a major breakthrough in fighting viruses of all kinds in conjunction with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore.
The problem with fighting viruses is that they mutate. So, to fight them you’d need to figure out a common denominator that they all share. If you could do that, then fighting the flu, ebola, and even Zika, could all be a matter of administering the same meds.
The result of their research was the creation of a macromolecule that may actually help prevent pretty much any virus from infecting humans.
The breakthrough came when they finally stopped looking at the usual targets: RNA and DNA. They are constantly mutating, so there was no real point in messing with them. Instead, they started looking at glycoproteins, which sit on the outside of all viruses and attach to cells in the body. That’s the part that lets viruses infect healthy cells in your body. If you can shut that down, the virus can’t do any harm.
The way this macromolecule works is that it starts by releasing an electrostatic charge. That attracts the virus to it. Then, it grabs the virus and neutralizes it’s PH level. The result is a virus that is no longer able to replicate or infect healthy cells.
The macromolecule even comes with a plan B in the form of a sugar called mannose. This worlds by attaching to healthy immune cells and forces them closer to the virus so that the viral infection can be eradicated more easily.
So far, testing has proved positive on Ebola and Dengue Fever. I’m sure we are a long way from this being a viable solution for the public, but damned if it’s not one of the coolest science bits you’ll hear this week.