MIT Researchers May Have Found Cure for the Common Cold, Other Viruses
August 29, 2011 9:22 PM
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The left panel shows treated and untreated cells in regards to the common cold virus (rhinovirus) while the right panel shows treated and untreated monkey cells in regards to dengue hemorrhagic fever virus
(Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers (DRACOs) could be the answer for terminating viruses like H1N1 influenza, stomach viruses, a polio virus, several types of hemorrhagic fever and dengue fever
Viruses like the common cold and influenza are infections that we occasionally must ride out. All anyone can really do is rest and take medications to ease the symptoms, which can range from congestion to fever to vomiting. Other viruses, such as
, can be potentially fatal due to Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
While many bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, not many viral infections can be treated with medications. Only a "handful" can fight viruses, like the protease inhibitors to
, but most other treatments only relieve the symptoms, and even that can take several days in some cases. Viruses are difficult to attack because they change and replicate in healthy cells.
But now, a team of researchers at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory
may have found the cure
for the common cold as well as many other viruses like H1N1 influenza, stomach viruses, a polio virus, several types of hemorrhagic fever and dengue fever. The team, led by Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory's Chemical, Biological and Nanoscale Technologies Group, created therapeutic agents called Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers (DRACOs) which have successfully terminated viral infections.
Viruses infect cells
by taking over the cell entirely and multiplying. While making copies of themselves, the viruses also produce long strings of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). This is not found in animal or human cells.
To fight these infected cells, healthy human cells have proteins that bind to dsRNA, which then prompts a series of reactions that work to stop the virus from making copies of itself. The problem is that the virus can block one of the healthy cells' series of steps to prevent its replication somewhere down the line, allowing the virus to change and further reproduce once again.
To remedy this problem, Rider and his team mixed a dsRNA protein with another protein that causes cells to go through apoptosis, which is programmed cell suicide. One end of the DRACO binds to dsRNA while the other end is instructed to launch cell suicide.
Also, each DRACO consists of a "delivery tag" that they received from naturally occurring proteins. This allows it to enter any human or animal by crossing cell membranes, meaning that it can combat a broad spectrum of viruses, possibly including new outbreaks.
The team tested the DRACOs in human and animal cells cultured in the lab as well as mice infected with the H1N1 influenza virus. They found that DRACO left the mice fully cured of the infection, and that DRACO is not toxic to these animals. In addition, DRACO only targeted cells with dsRNA present while leaving healthy cells alone.
Rider and his team are now testing DRACO on other viruses in mice, and hope to eventually test it on larger animals and humans.
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RE: Bad management
8/30/2011 2:32:13 PM
I was expecting a lot more anger about being right than what you've expressed.
Firstly, as one would expect in any good piece of science, the temperature scale used is the internationally recognised centigrade or Celsius scale, not the Fahrenheit scale. The temperature I am talking about is 10 - 14 deg Centigrade, also known as 10 to 14 degrees Celsius, not 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The scales are different.
10 degrees Celsius is not the same as 10 degrees Fahrenheit!
How much more clearly do you want me to express this?
Secondly, I didn't say you needed to move to a warm climate, I said that if you manage the way you look after your nose then that goes a long way to avoiding getting the flu, which would make living where you do much more enjoyable.
Since you live in a place where the temperatures are well below freezing point, then there are really two approaches to avoiding the flu. One approach, which is what people have used for thousands of years, is essentially a combination of random chance and "well, this works, but I don't know why"; while the other, which is what I proposed, is a more scientific and managed approach.
What is difficult to understand about "cold air damages the tissues inside your nose"? Is that difficult to understand? What would you expect "10°F" air to do to your skin? You would expect it to be injured. If that is what happens to the skin you can see, then what happens inside your nose?
Or what is difficult to understand about "the inside of the nose is a filter"? Sure, that isn't the scientific way to say it, but most people will understand what I wrote. If you damage a filter system, what would you expect to happen? You would expect stuff to get through that shouldn't. So what would you expect to happen if you damage the nose's filtering capabilities? You would expect stuff to get through that shouldn't, and one of those "stuff" is bacteria. So if you damage the nose's filtering capabilities then you would expect bacteria to get through, and then you would expect to get some sort of throat infection. Does that sound familiar?
Next, understanding why your nose gets congested is important to managing your nose. You obviously understand why paying for heating in the winter is important: because it stops you getting sick.
Not understanding why your nose gets congested means that when it happens you don't know whether it is a good thing or not, and if you take the wrong approach to this then you would expect to either get sick or hinder healing, and one of the very common progressions from "a cold" is to get the flu.
My proposition is that congestion in your nose is God's way of allowing the nose to heal, and that by understanding this then when your nose does get congested you know that your nose is trying to heal itself. As such, the correct approach to a congested nose is to consider the congestion as a "quasi-normal process" (meaning "a normal process when things go wrong") and that it is what caused your nose to get injured in the first place (e.g. being in freezing cold air for too long) as the "abnormal process" that needs to be remedied, and not the congested nose.
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