Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Superfast Laser Turns Virus Into Rubble

‘A physicist and his biologist son destroyed a common virus using a superfast pulsing laser, without harming healthy cells. The discovery could lead to new treatments for viruses like HIV that have no cure.

“We have demonstrated a technique of using a laser to excite vibrations on the shield of a virus and damage it, so that it’s no longer functional,” said Kong-Thon Tsen, a professor of physics at Arizona State University. “We’re testing it on HIV and hepatitis right now.” [..]

In the latest research, Tsen and his son demonstrated that their laser technique could shatter the protein shell, or capsid, of the tobacco mosaic virus, leaving behind only a harmless mucus-like mash of molecules.

The laser shattered the capsid at low energy: 40 times lower, in fact, than the energy level that harmed human T-cells. Other types of radiation, like ultraviolet light, kill microbes on produce, but would damage human cells.’

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