New Drug May Cure All Viruses

DRACO images (MIT) - click to enlarge

DRACO images (MIT) - click to enlarge

This is so sci-fi it has to be too good to be true – doesn’t it? MIT News reports that researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza and many other viral ailments:

Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.

In a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, 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.

The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. “In theory, it should work against all viruses,” says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology.

Because the technology is so broad-spectrum, it could potentially also be used to combat outbreaks of new viruses, such as the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Rider says…

[continues at MIT News]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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30 Comments on "New Drug May Cure All Viruses"

  1. Tyler Durden | Aug 14, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Until it can be manipulated to extract the most profit from it, the general public will never see something like this.

  2. Tyler Durden | Aug 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    Until it can be manipulated to extract the most profit from it, the general public will never see something like this.

  3. Anonymous | Aug 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm |

    More like “new drug prevents the formation of intercellular vesicles which some call ‘viruses’ by killing the cells that produce them”. I’m certain that newspapers were saying the same thing about AZT in the late ’80s. The perfect “antiviral” drug is an albatross, viruses are merely the symptoms of whatever is causing their production in the first place, which is different in every case. But thousands of ignorant and indigent ‘virologists’ need to get paid, and this is how they do it.

  4. JoiquimCouteau | Aug 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |

    More like “new drug prevents the formation of intercellular vesicles which some call ‘viruses’ by killing the cells that produce them”. I’m certain that newspapers were saying the same thing about AZT in the late ’80s. The perfect “antiviral” drug is an albatross, viruses are merely the symptoms of whatever is causing their production in the first place, which is different in every case. But thousands of ignorant and indigent ‘virologists’ need to get paid, and this is how they do it.

    • explain this in layman’s terms please.

      • JoiquimCouteau | Aug 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm |

        The word ‘virus’ nowadays refers to sub-cellular particles that can be identified on electron micrographs. What this drug does (assuming it works as they say it does) is kill the cells that produce these particles. The particles themselves are just markers of dysfunctional cells, and killing those cells does not address the cause of the dysfunction and will probably make it worse in the long run.

        • chinagreenelvis | Aug 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm |

          Interesting.

        • IE a long legacy of people still not understanding “correlation does not entail causation”

          (another tidbit: Pasteur, the godfather of the current ingrained germ theory, recanted his own theories before he died)

  5. Anonymous | Aug 14, 2011 at 7:28 pm |

    Keep an eye out for anyone named Wesker involved with the research.

  6. Keep an eye out for anyone named Wesker involved with the research.

  7. why?

  8. explain this in layman’s terms please.

  9. Anonymous | Aug 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm |

    The word ‘virus’ nowadays refers to sub-cellular particles that can be identified on electron micrographs. What this drug does (assuming it works as they say it does) is kill the cells that produce these particles. The particles themselves are just markers of dysfunctional cells, and killing those cells does not address the cause of the dysfunction and will probably make it worse in the long run.

  10. Anonymous | Aug 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm |

    The T-virus, duh.

  11. chinagreenelvis | Aug 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm |

    Interesting.

  12. Xjet_purgeX | Aug 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm |

    Dude, that made my day. :]

  13. Until it A) reaches people who need it daily and B) has a price that doesn’t bankrupt small cities…I reserve any applause of any kind. Shit…something this broad spectrum and theoretically useful…it’ll be a miracle if any of the people involved in its creation manage to live through the year.

  14. Until it A) reaches people who need it daily and B) has a price that doesn’t bankrupt small cities…I reserve any applause of any kind. Shit…something this broad spectrum and theoretically useful…it’ll be a miracle if any of the people involved in its creation manage to live through the year.

  15. Penguins4life | Aug 15, 2011 at 12:52 am |

    What are the side effects though? Death?

  16. Penguins4life | Aug 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    What are the side effects though? Death?

  17. As technology and science advance old problems that seemed unsolvable will be brushed aside.  I think that one day soon ALL viral and bacteriological diseases will be cured — you’ll pop a pill or two and never get sick again. 

    Will people believe it when the cure is found?  Only if they get over thinking that because the problem was unsolved for so long — despite peoples’ best efforts — it should forever remain so.

  18. As technology and science advance old problems that seemed unsolvable will be brushed aside.  I think that one day soon ALL viral and bacteriological diseases will be cured — you’ll pop a pill or two and never get sick again. 

    Will people believe it when the cure is found?  Only if they get over thinking that because the problem was unsolved for so long — despite peoples’ best efforts — it should forever remain so.

  19. ooops… “cured” should be “curable”.

  20. IE a long legacy of people still not understanding “correlation does not entail causation”

    (another tidbit: Pasteur, the godfather of the current ingrained germ theory, recanted his own theories before he died)

  21. Anonymous | Aug 17, 2011 at 5:58 am |

    Well we need viruses to weed the population out until humans are made to stop irresponsible breeding. 

  22. Well we need viruses to weed the population out until humans are made to stop irresponsible breeding. 

Comments are closed.