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Biotech Science

New Drug Could Cure Nearly Any Viral Infection 414

Posted by samzenpus
from the universal-cure dept.
HardYakka writes "A team of researchers at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory have designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection. The researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever."
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New Drug Could Cure Nearly Any Viral Infection

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  • Re:HIV? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @04:28PM (#37048592)

    Won't work. the new miracle drug is active only versus double stranded RNA virii. HIV is a single-stranded virus.

  • Re: Wow, just wow. (Score:4, Informative)

    by dtmos (447842) * on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @04:29PM (#37048618)

    If Slashdot impresses you, try EurekAlert [eurekalert.org].

  • Re:HIV? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @04:52PM (#37048976)

    TFA: "We have demonstrated that DRACOs are effective against viruses with DNA, dsRNA, positive-sense ssRNA, and negative-sense ssRNA genomes; enveloped and non-enveloped viruses; viruses that replicate in the cytoplasm and viruses that replicate in the nucleus; human, bat, and rodent viruses; and viruses that use a variety of cellular receptors"

  • Re:HIV? (Score:5, Informative)

    by digitalderbs (718388) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:09PM (#37049204)
    I'm a biophysicist that works on the flu--though not a virologist--and I'd like to mention a couple of related points. First, as another poster had stated, this does not only work for double-stranded RNA viruses. Look at table 1. The influenza virus and HIV are both very similar--class I enveloped viruses with single-stranded RNA genomes. I'd imagine this could have some effect toward HIV, as it is effective with the flu. However, it would appear that once the HIV RNA has been reverse-transcribed to cDNA and integrated into the genome, then the approach presented in this paper would not work--i.e. if you have AIDS, this won't help you.
  • by Whorhay (1319089) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:10PM (#37049222)

    The mechanics of how the drug works should actually make simple virus mutations incredibly unlikely to result in resistance.

    The drug is a protien that is triggered by the virus's production of double stranded DNA. Double Stranded DNA is actually how your immune system already recognizes a viral infection, when it's detected it sets of a cascade of events that should ultimately end in the cells elimination. The way most viruses beat the immune system response is by blocking or attacking one or more of the cascaded steps before cell death. This protein shortcuts all of those steps and makes the jump straight from detection of double stranded DNA to triggered cell suicide, there was a fancy word for it that I can't remember.

    In short the only mutation that would result in resistance/immunity would be for the virus to no longer cause double stranded DNA to be created. Which is a mutation that likely would have happened already if it's possible, as it would completely avoid the immune systems response.

  • by digitalderbs (718388) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @05:41PM (#37049608)
    This is not correct. HIV, like the flu virus, has a single-stranded RNA genome that forms long helical, double stranded RNA structures which could be inhibited by this drug (DRACOs). See table 1 from the article, and my previous post [slashdot.org]

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