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New Drug Could Cure Nearly Any Viral Infection

Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza and other 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.

Other members of the research team are Lincoln Lab staff members Scott Wick, Christina Zook, Tara Boettcher, Jennifer Pancoast and Benjamin Zusman.

Viral Infection:ウイルス感染
Researchers:研究者 common cold:風邪 influenza:インフルエンザ ailments:病気
bacterial infections:細菌感染 antibiotics:抗生物質 penicillin:ペニシリン hemorrhagic fevers:出血熱 Ebola:エボラ
transform:~を転換する cells:細胞 have been infected:感染した virus:ウイルス terminate:~を終結させる
rhinoviruses:ライノウイルス H1N1:(A型インフルエンザウイルスの亜型の名称) polio virus:ポリオウイルス dengue fever:デング熱
Biological:生物学的 Nanoscale:ナノスケールの
broad-spectrum:広域性の potentially:潜在的に combat:~と戦う outbreaks:大流行 severe acute respiratory syndrome:重症急性呼吸器症候群



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