07 February 2008

"Subtle vibrations" as an antiviral agent?

Professor Otto Sankey and his student Eric Dykeman from the University of Arizona (Arizona State University) have developed a mathematical model of vibration of the shells of various viruses.

Experimental data from previous years have shown that laser pulses of a certain frequency can kill some viruses. However, it is not so easy to determine the resonant frequency at which their capsid (protein shell) is destroyed. Until recently, the only way was trial and error.

"The capsid of the virus is like the shell of a turtle – it can be destroyed by mechanical vibrations, then the virus will cease to be active, that is, it will actually die," says Sankey.

In order for virologists not to have to guess, Otto and Eric teamed up and created a mathematical model that does not need billions of gigabytes of computer memory (as if they had to calculate the movement of each individual atom of the capsid). Thanks to it, biologists can determine the lowest resonant frequencies of the shells of various viruses.

Using the example of a small satellite tobacco necrosis virus (satellite tobacco necrosis virus) Sankey and Dykeman showed that its shell resonates at 60 gigahertz (see the article Low Frequency Mechanical Modes of Viral Capsids: An Atomic Approach, published in the journal Physical Review Letters).

In the future, scientists plan to study the performance of their model on more complex viruses, although, of course, this is only the beginning of a long road to the practical application of vibrations for the treatment of infected people.

One of the problems that you will have to face on this difficult path: the laser cannot penetrate deep into human tissues. Hemodialysis can be a salvation: when the blood passes through the tubes of the device, it will be treated with a laser tuned to the resonant frequencies of the envelope of a virus. Another option is to use ultrasonic vibrations instead of a laser.

Such treatment will undoubtedly be better (easier to tolerate) and, perhaps, even more effective than medicinal. After all, the patient will not suffer from any side effects. And the probability that viruses will be able to adapt to mechanical action is small.

Otto notes that such treatment is not terrible for ordinary cells of the body, since their resonant frequencies are much lower than those of viruses. "We hope for a better result, but at the same time we do not lose our skepticism," concludes Professor Sankey.


Portal "Eternal youth" www.vechnayamolodost.ru07.02.2008

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